Reflections: Palmarum

Today’s Reading: Matthew 21:1-9

Daily Lectionary: Exodus 8:1-32; Hebrews 1:1-14 

And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Today is a day full of strange words. Where else other than church and devotions do you see the word “Palmarum”? But that one is pretty easy–it simply means “of the palms” or “day of the palms.” You could also call today “Palm Sunday,” remembering that a week before Easter Jesus entered into Jerusalem as people waved branches over Him and welcomed Him into the holy city as He was called the Son of David, the One who comes in the Name of the Lord. 

That reveals another strange word, the Hebrew word “Hosanna,” which means, “Save us now!” It is a prayer for deliverance, and it is a prayer that Jesus, the Son of David who comes in the Name of the Lord, comes to answer. As the crowds cried out, “Hosanna,” Jesus was coming to do just that, preparing for His death that would save not only the crowds, but you. 

That prayer of “Hosanna” is one that is repeated in the Divine Service today. In preparation for the Lord’s Supper, the words of the Palm Sunday crowds are combined with the words of the angelic song of Isaiah 6:1-8 so that Christ’s Church sings, “Holy, Holy, Holy,” and, “Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord,” in the canticle (Bible song) called the Sanctus. This is a confession that your Lord, Jesus, is holy, and that it is your Lord, Jesus, who comes in the Name of the Lord, not only on a donkey in Jerusalem but also in His Body and Blood in the Lord’s Supper. There, given and shed for you, He brings forgiveness, life, and salvation that saves you. He gives you this will and testament as an answer to your prayer as you greet Him, the One who comes in the Name of the Lord. That’s not a one time event, but an ever present reality for you, one of His Christians. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. 

Almighty and everlasting God, You sent Your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, to take upon Himself our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross. Mercifully grant that we may follow the example of His great humility and patience and be made partakers of His resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for Palmarum)

-Rev. Peter Ill is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Millstadt, IL.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Learn more about your favorite hymns and find the deeper meaning behind the text with Eternal Anthems: The Story Behind Your Favorite Hymns. The book includes devotional commentary and historical facts from forty different contributing authors on fifty different hymns. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.