It used to be that I always celebrated Palm Sunday. As a pastor I would have to deal with extra services (and sermon preparation), sick calls, shut-in calls, meetings, and classes all year long; but during the Lenten season everything seemed more pressing and demanding. So, when Palm Sunday would arrive, I knew that the end was in sight. I soon would have a little free time. I was usually a little tired (of the grind) so reading and hearing the words of this text were welcome good news to me—but, I think, for the wrong reason. Now, in my retirement, I see things more clearly! My celebration used to be for primarily very selfish and personal reasons. Now, I have the opportunity to think beyond my selfish reasoning and think more about what we should be celebrating!
I’m speaking, specifically, of verse twenty-seven, the first part. “The Lord is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us.” This verse helps me put things in proper perspective!
First, there is the acknowledgement that “The Lord is God.”
“The Lord” was an ancient Jewish way of naming God without risking taking His name in vain. Instead of possibly misusing the name He used, they would substitute the term “The Lord” to reference Him. This attitude of reverence is one we would do well to emulate in our own lives, I think.
Then there is the clear recognition of what God has done. The Psalmist put it this way: “He has made his light to shine upon us…” This is precisely what we celebrated at Christmas with the birth of the Christ child, but now, during Holy Week we remember and thank God for what this child grew up to do. Jesus came to give His life to ransom sinners from hell itself; and then on Easter we will again celebrate the fact that Jesus accomplished what He set out to do! This is the Light that surpasses every other light and gives us hope and brings us joy!
Jesus is the One who “Opened to us the gates of righteousness, that we may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.” He has made His light to shine on us!
We pray: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for opening the gates of righteousness for us by making Your light to shine upon us! In Your name we pray. Amen.