PALM SUNDAY / SUNDAY OF THE PASSION
The Son of David comes in gentle humility, “sitting on a donkey's colt,” yet as the King of Israel “in the name of the Lord” (John 12:13–15). He comes to be lifted up in glory on the Cross in order to cast out “the ruler of this world” and draw all people to Himself (John 12:23–32). The Church is thus called to “rejoice greatly,” because her King comes with salvation, and “He shall speak peace to the nations” (Zech. 9:9–10). As He is anointed “beforehand for burial” (Mark 14:8), He also ascends His royal throne as “the King of the Jews” by way of His Passion (Mark 15:2, 17–19, 26). He goes “as it is written of Him,” wherefore “you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power” (Mark 14:21, 62). For the glory of God is Love, which crescendos in the humble obedience and voluntary self-sacrifice of the Son of God for the salvation of sinners. So God the Father has “highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the Name that is above every name” (Phil. 2:9), that He might reign over us in love with the forgiveness of His Cross.
Exodus 24:3–11 OR Exodus 12:1–14
1 Corinthians 10:16–17 1 Corinthians 11:23–32
Mark 14:12–26 John 13:1–17, 31b–35
Let Us Love One Another, as Christ Has Loved Us and Loves Us to the End
“The Lord’s Passover” (Ex. 12:11) and “the blood of the covenant” at Mt. Sinai (Ex. 24:8) are preeminent types of the Lord’s Supper. The blood of Christ, the Lamb of God, now covers us, and we keep His Supper “as a feast to the Lord” (Ex. 12:13–14). In Him we see “the God of Israel” (Ex. 24:9), and yet He does not lay His hand on us to punish us. As disciples of Jesus, we recline at table with Him to eat and drink in peace (Mark 14:18). The Apostles, who received the New Testament in His Blood “on the night when He was betrayed,” delivered the same to His Church, which we also now receive in remembrance of Him (1 Cor. 11:23–26; Mark 14:22–25). So He has “loved His own who were in the world,” and He loves us “to the end” (John 13:1). As He thus feeds us in love, let us love one another, just as He has loved us (John 13:34). For “we who are many are one body” because “we all partake of the one bread,” which is the body of Christ (1 Cor. 10:17).
Hebrews 4:14–16; 5:7–9
John 18:1—19:42 (or John 19:17–30)
Behold the Lamb of God, Who Takes Away the Sin of the World
Jesus, the Lamb of God, is led to the slaughter of His Cross as the Sacrifice of Atonement for the sin of the world. “Despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Is. 53:3), He is the righteous Servant who justifies many by His innocent suffering and death. He bears our griefs and sorrows; He is wounded for our transgressions; He is crushed for our iniquities; He suffers our chastisement; “and with His stripes we are healed” (Is. 53:4–5). As the Son of God, He fulfills the Law for us in human flesh, and so fulfills the Scriptures (John 19:7, 24). In perfect faith and faithfulness, He shares all our weaknesses and temptations, “yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). As our merciful High Priest He brings us to the Father in peace, “makes intercession for the transgressors” (Is. 53:12), and joins our prayers to His own, so that we are heard “because of His reverence” (Heb. 5:7). From His Cross He gives us His Spirit (John 19:30), washes us with water from His side, and covers us with His blood (John 19:34).