Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Hosanna/Palm Sunday

Sermon / Homily on John 12:12-19

Devotional Thoughts for Palm Sunday

Gospel: John 12:12-19

Glory be to the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Spirit, Amen.

During the Divine Liturgy, the Church reads to us the Gospel of St. John, 12:12-19. This passage right after the Feast, and narrative of the Raising of Lazarus (St. John 11:28-44), which is a beautiful Feast of the Church, in which we forget the importance of.

In fact, it is the Raising of St. Lazarus, that sets the pace for the rest of the week, and especially offers a major reason on why the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem is ever so 'triumphant'.

St. Lazarus of Bethany, a wonderful friend to Jesus, dies, and is laid dead in the tomb. It is here, that the the Gospel writer is so clear in pointing out, that this moved the Lord to tears - "Jesus wept" (St. John 11:35). But Jesus did not simply weep, or offer tears over the death of His friend, but He wept seeing how the darkness of death has taken hold of His creation - the very creation He had fashioned.

Even four days after the death of St. Lazarus, and despite the 'stench' coming from the tomb, Jesus, the great King and Conqueror, called out to Lazarus and raised him up. Through this great act, He (Jesus) showed those unrepentant Jews, and unbelieving Gentiles - if I can show you the great power of God by raising this dead man Lazarus in four days, I will show you what I can do in 3 days!

The people of Jerusalem, hearing of this great miracle Jesus has done, receives Christ, as the King and Conqueror of Death. Little do they know, Jesus enters Jerusalem to just do that - once, and for all. He enters Jerusalem to die, hence it is appropriate that the people of Jerusalem cry out - "Hosanna - Lord save us!" as enters into Jerusalem to do just that.

This procession of death, appears to be much of pomp and circumstance, and reminds me of the old saying - "when one is born, people around will laugh, and new born will cry...when one dies, the people around will cry, and the dying person smiles." One can imagine what is going through the mind of Christ as He knows of His impending death. One can imagine what is going through the mind of Christ, as He knows those who cover Him with palms and shout 'Hosanna!", will be the very ones who gather on Friday and cover Him with their spitting and curses, and shout 'Crucify Him!"

What are we offering to the Lord on Palm Sunday, Great & Holy Friday, the Glorious Feast of the Resurrection, and the weeks following? The shouting of 'Hosanna' or 'Crucify Him' is not limited into a liturgical time frame. It is beyond that, and it is something we must ask ourselves in every aspect of our spiritual lives.

We must not utter, even in the most passive of ways - 'Crucify Him' We often utter this phrase by returning to a life of gluttony and forgetting the discipline of fasting. We shout 'Crucify Him' by forgetting about prayer and scripture reading. We cry out 'Crucify Him' by skipping out on Church for the next few weeks, because "we need a break".

It is far too often, we forget that we have immersed ourselves in a beautiful discipline of fasting, prayer, scripture reading, confession, alms-giving - the very pillars of the Christian life - not for the sake of empty ritual, but rather to create a sense of spiritual discipline, and to empower us to cry out "Hosanna" in every single aspect of our lives. A 'battle-cry' that reminds us we proclaim and confess in a glorious King & a Conqueror of Death.

A Glorious King, and Master, Who entered into Jerusalem to be condemned, to die enthroned upon a wooden Cross for you and me, and be raised up on the Third Day to destroy the darkness, and stench of death. An act that was so personal, for each, and everyone of us, how can we say, or do anything else, other than HOSANNA!

To the Glory of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, One God - forever and ever - Amen!

Source: ICON

The Author is a clergy member who prefers to be anonymous.

See Also:

Sermons and Commentaries for the Palm Sunday

Passion Week Supplement in Malankara World

Great Lent Supplement in Malankara World

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