Palm Sunday is Passion Sunday
The events framed by Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and his resurrection are some of the most dramatic
and theologically important of the entire scriptural narrative. These days feature not only the drama
of the triumphal entry, trial, last supper, and crucifixion but also poignant prayers and prophetic
teachings of our Lord. John’s gospel devotes eight of its twenty-one chapters to this week alone!
The first Sunday of Holy Week is commonly called either “Palm Sunday” or “Passion Sunday.”
Those who call it “Palm Sunday” tend to focus on the entry of Christ into Jerusalem to shouts of
“Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mark 11:9). Those who refer to
the day as “Passion Sunday” tend to focus on Jesus’ suffering.
For congregations that celebrate the day as Palm Sunday, it’s important to capture the irony of the day.
This is the day on which Jesus entered the city in triumph, but as a part of his journey to the cross;
this is the week in which the crowd’s cries of “Hosanna” would soon turn to “Crucify him!”
Tell the whole story memorably to help the congregation sense the significance
of the narratives for what they teach us about Jesus’ ministry, about God’s being and character,
and about the nature and scope of redemption
Opening of Worship
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
as we journey with your Son in this week of remembrance and hope,
help us to understand you and your love for the world more clearly.
Just as Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness,
we look to keep our eyes fixed on your promises instead of the idols
of relevance, significance, and power.
Guide us through this season, that we may not avoid struggle,
but open ourselves to blessing, through the cleansing depths of repentance
and the heaven-rending words of the Spirit.
Transform us by the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ
and prepare us for service in your kingdom,
through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
A Responsive Prayer from Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his steadfast love endures forever!
Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD.
This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it.
I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the LORD’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
LORD, save us! LORD, grant us success!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.
From the house of the LORD we bless you.
Yahweh is God, and he has given us light.
Bind the festal sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.
You are my God, and I will give thanks to you.
You are my God; I will exalt you.
O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
His steadfast love endures forever.
The First Testament // The Law & the Prophets
Isaiah 50:4–9a (NRSV)
(4) The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of a teacher,
that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.
Morning by morning he wakens—
wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught.
(5) The Lord GOD has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious,
I did not turn backward.
(6) I gave my back to those who struck me,
and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;
I did not hide my face from insult and spitting.
(7) The Lord GOD helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
(8) he who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me?
Let us stand up together.
Who are my adversaries?
Let them confront me.
(9) It is the Lord GOD who helps me;
who will declare me guilty?
The Second Testament // Acts & the Epistles
Philippians 2:5-11 (NRSV)
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.
Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Generosity & Giving
The tithes and donations you make to DreamHouse Church make a difference to our church, our community, the people of Newport News, and world missions. There are various ways you can donate. We pass a collection plate during services and electronic giving is available for 24/7 donations. “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops” (Proverbs 3:9).
The Second Testament // The Gospel
Matthew 26:14-27:66 (NRSV)
Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I betray him to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.
On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is near; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’ ” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover meal.
When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve; and while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another, “Surely not I, Lord?” He answered, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.” Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” He replied, “You have said so.”
While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Then Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters because of me this night; for it is written,
‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
But after I am raised up, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.” Peter said to him, “Though all become deserters because of you, I will never desert you.” Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And so said all the disciples.
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.” And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”
While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; with him was a large crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.” At once he came up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you are here to do.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him. Suddenly, one of those with Jesus put his hand on his sword, drew it, and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?” At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But all this has taken place, so that the scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.
Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, in whose house the scribes and the elders had gathered. But Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest; and going inside, he sat with the guards in order to see how this would end. Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for false testimony against Jesus so that they might put him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’ ” The high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?” But Jesus was silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I put you under oath before the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you,
From now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?” They answered, “He deserves death.” Then they spat in his face and struck him; and some slapped him, saying, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who is it that struck you?”
Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant-girl came to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it before all of them, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about.” When he went out to the porch, another servant-girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” Again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.” After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you.” Then he began to curse, and he swore an oath, “I do not know the man!” At that moment the cock crowed. Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said: “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.
When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death. They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate the governor.
When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. He said, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself. But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since they are blood money.” After conferring together, they used them to buy the potter’s field as a place to bury foreigners. For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one on whom a price had been set, on whom some of the people of Israel had set a price, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”
Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You say so.” But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer. Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you?” But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.
Now at the festival the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted. At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas. So after they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” For he realized that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over. While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that innocent man, for today I have suffered a great deal because of a dream about him.” Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed. The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” All of them said, “Let him be crucified!” Then he asked, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”
So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross. And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. And when they had crucified him, they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots; then they sat down there and kept watch over him. Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”
Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.
Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, ‘I am God’s Son.’ ” The bandits who were crucified with him also taunted him in the same way.
From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.” At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!” Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.
The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception would be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.
The Lord's Supper // Communion
Congregation of Jesus Christ, the Lord has
prepared his table for all who love him and
trust in him alone for their salvation.
All who are truly sorry for their sins, who sincerely believe in the Lord Jesus as their Savior, and who desire to live
in obedience to him as
Lord are now invited to come with gladness to the table of the Lord.
The gifts of God for the people of God.
Hear the words of the institution of the Holy
Supper of our Lord Jesus Christ:
The Lord Jesus, on the night of his arrest, took bread, and after giving thanks to God,
he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying,
“Take, eat. This is my body, given for you. Do
this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant sealed
in my blood, shed for you
for the forgiveness of sins.
Whenever you drink it,
do this in remembrance of me.”
Every time you eat this bread and drink this
cup, you proclaim the saving death of the risen Lord until he comes.
let us offer God our grateful praise.
—based on 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
[as the bread is shared]
The body of Christ, given for you.
Thanks be to God.
[as the cup is shared]
The blood of Christ, shed for you.
Thanks be to God.
Response of Praise
God, who nourishes us for the journey,
it is strengthening to know that
as we have gathered at your table today,
your people throughout the world
are offering praise and thanksgiving
as bread and wine are shared.
May the mystery of your presence, experienced in our worship,
bind us together into one worldwide community. Amen.
Doxology and Benediction // The Sending & the Blessing
May our Lord, whose arms were spread on the cross
to embrace the whole world,
help us this week to take up the cross and follow him. Amen.