Readings for Palm Sunday

Deuteronomy 32:36-39; Philippians 2:5-11; John 12:12-43

“Glorious!” It’s a word commonly used to describe things that are deemed to be very beautiful in appearance. A sunset, a meadow blooming with flowers, a classic painting.

We might think that the glory of Palm Sunday is found in the scene itself that John describes. There are happy crowds, shouting and waving their palm leaves. There is Jesus himself welcoming their excitement as he rides into Jerusalem in royal fashion. Glorious!

But the glory of which Jesus speaks is not the beautiful scene we imagine. He will be glorified when he is lifted up on a cross to die. The glory that God values is not beautiful in the typical sense. Obedience, faithfulness, sacrificial love – these are what God calls glorious (Jn 12).

In the Epistle lesson, Paul tells us to imitate Christ who graciously, happily laid aside his power and embraced the role of a humble servant to the world (Ph 2).

In the Old Testament lesson, the LORD waits until His people have had their false hopes – placed in false gods – dashed to pieces. Only then will the people turn back to Him as they realize that only He can deliver them (Dt 32).