Sermon Introduction –
Love is an action verb. Jesus, in both his entry into Jerusalem, and his last meal with his disciples, calls us to love not just with words, but by feeding people, gathering them together, and even being willing to eat with our enemies and forgive our betrayers.
Introduction to our readings –
Today we follow Christ from triumphal entry to the cross, each waypoint of the journey marked by Jesus’ compassion for those who would betray, mock, accuse, or do violence to him. Though persecuted and beaten, Jesus the Son of God is not disgraced; instead, he asks forgiveness for those who put him to death. We have walked the Lenten pathway these forty days, each of us invited through baptism to “let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” We enter this holy week accompanying Jesus to the cross with both grief and thanksgiving in our hearts, trusting in God’s redeeming love.
Reading: Isaiah 50:4-9a
Introduction: This text, the third of the four Servant Songs in Isaiah, speaks of the servant’s obedience in the midst of persecution. Though the servant has been variously understood as the prophet himself or a remnant of faithful Israel, Christians have often recognized the figure of Christ in these poems.
Reading: Psalm 31:9-16
Excerpt: Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit (Ps. 31:5)
Reading: Philippians 2:5-11
Introduction: Paul quotes from an early Christian hymn that describes Jesus’ humble obedience in his incarnation as a human being, even to death, and his exaltation and glory as Lord of all.
Reading: Luke 22:14-23
Introduction: Through the teachings and events of the passion story we see and hear the great contradictions that characterize the coming of God’s reign. The leader serves the followers, proud Peter is revealed in his cowardice, and Jesus — innocent bringer of life — is arrested, beaten, executed, and buried.