Palm Sunday

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
Mark 11:1-11 or John 12 :12-16
Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 31:9-16
Philippians 2:5-11
Mark 14:1-15:47 or Mark 15:1-39 [40-47]

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 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. Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD (Psalm 118:19-26).

The psalmist prays, “I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation” (v 21). Whatever the request was, God answered it by becoming the psalmist’s salvation. The request in question can actually be found two verses earlier: “Open to me the gates of righteousness.” The gates referred to are most likely the gates of the temple—the passageway into the presence of the Most Holy God. The psalmist is asking to be in the presence of God, and God answered the prayer by becoming his (or her) salvation.

We too can ask God to be in His presence, and we will also find that He has already answered us. Hebrews 9:11-15 says that Christ has entered the Most Holy Place by his own blood, securing our eternal redemption. He became our mediator to God’s presence in a new covenant secured by his death. Now we can enter through the gates of righteousness and give thanks to the LORD because Jesus has become our salvation. Jesus is the passageway into the presence of the Most Holy God. He is the Gate of Righteousness. “This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.”

This Palm Sunday, let us be thankful that Jesus passed through the gates of Jerusalem on his way to die and bear the punishment for our sins. Let us be thankful that God has shown us that the way to Him is through the Gate of Righteousness (John 14:6). And let us look forward to the day when we can “bless Him from the house of the LORD” and sing, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

Robert O’Brien
Junior, Religion in the Arts Major

You can download the full Lent and Holy Week Devotional Guide at: http://www.belmont.edu/religion/files/lent-devotional-2012-final.pdf

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