Palm/Passion Sunday – beginning of Holy Week

Posted by on Apr 5, 2020 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on Palm/Passion Sunday – beginning of Holy Week

Sermon for Sunday, April 5

Grace and Peace:  Our reading from the Gospel today is from John 13:1-17; 31b-35

Yes…this part of the Gospel of John  is written after Jesus has entered the city of Jerusalem

on the donkey with the palm branches waving.  I chose this section to talk about today because I

feel it has encouragement and hope for us as we are fighting this strange virus with the isolation

it has brought. 

This section comes after Jesus and his disciples have traveled to Jerusalem and while Jesus has

healed a blind man, ministered to the Samaritan woman and stayed two days in her community

because her testimony about Jesus spoke to many people, and finally He raised Lazarus from the

grave.  These are but three of the “lessons” He was giving to his disciples in preparation for his


Please imagine yourself in the room with Jesus and the disciples.  Jesus wanted time with just

His disciples as he knew that the time for him to be crucified had come and he wanted to give

them His assurance and the honor they would not be getting from anyone else as they did the

work He asks them to do.

Jesus begins by washing the feet of the disciples.  This is an action that was not done by a host to

the people who had been invited to share a meal with him.  This action was administered by the

servants to clean the feet from the dust that had collected on them. 

This action is a parable of Jesus’ for him to illustrate the saving and ethical significance of His

death.  Jesus took off his robe and took on the role of a servant.  The cleansing of the feet can be

equated to cleansing of sin and preparation for following Jesus as a life-giving, loving service. 

He is asking them to imitate the teacher.  He acted this parable to have his disciples remember it

as they were ministering to the people.

If a person refused to have his feet washed, he would not be part of the kingdom.  The cleansing

and confessing of sins indicated a new birth.  With feet washed and sins forgiven, the disciples

and we can walk in the light

Jesus knows what is in Judas’ heart.  He knows that Judas has accepted money to betray him.  In

fact, the betrayal by Judas fulfills Psalms 41:9.  Judas is not clean and has not believed. 

Now…what does this signify for us?  The foot washing of the disciples….the participation in the

Lord’s Supper (just as the disciples did) is a commissioning by Jesus to love, accept and serve

others.  Jesus states in verses 34 and 35, “I give you a new commandment that you love one

another.  Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.  By this, everyone will

know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” This is a sacrificial love…a l

love that guarantees cohesion and acceptance.

In our day and in our situation, how will we be able to love others as He has loved us.  Let’s

think of a couple of examples.  When we are no longer “in physical distance”, what will change

in our actions toward people?  Will be able to really appreciate the love and acceptance of a

friend?  Will we thank the people who teach and work with our children?  When we are in a

room full of people, how will we view those people?  Will we thank God for the gift of


When we celebrated the beginning of Lent on February 26th with the observance of Ash

Wednesday, none of us even expected that we would be “fasting” from so many things we

cherish and do.  Will we be able to support our churches monetarily? 

When we return to worship in our physical church, will we thank God for the gift of our

congregation?  Will we thank God for supplying our needs when we visit the grocery store

again?  Will we continue to pray fervently for our friends and those we are praying for right

now?  When we are alone now, are we being the church God called us to be?  Will we be able to

create a “new normal” after our experiences? 

This is what Jesus was meaning when He gave us the “Great Commandment” to love one another as He has loved us” in John 13:34-35  Will we be willing to change our “habits” and enfold all around us?

My prayers are with you all as we move through this strange time and move toward health and harmony.

Blessings and peace to you all.


April 2020


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