This week we look at Psalm 118. It has such strong echoes of Palm Sunday for us, and yet it was written long, long before the event. As the set psalm for Palm Sunday, it allows us to weave the two stories together to give the familiar narrative a parallel perspective.
These psalm lessons follow the Lectionary passages for the six weeks of year B Lent.
This retold version of the Bible passage is supplied for inspiration, feel free to omit or embellish to give it your personal voice.
Main passage: Psalm 118: 1-2, 19-29
Additional Passages: Matthew 21:1–11, Mark 11:1–11, Luke 19:28–44, and John 12:12–19.
We are going to read a song, a song Jesus may have sung with his friends, a song from the book of songs to be sung – the book called Psalms. Today is a special day; it’s the day Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey. Do you know the story? Jesus had sent two of his friends to get a young donkey and climbed on the back of the animal as they approached the city. The road was busy with people travelling into Jerusalem for the festival that week. I’m sure many of the groups of people had been singing psalms on their journeys. Perhaps someone was singing this psalm?
1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his faithful love endures forever.
2 Let Israel say, “His faithful love endures forever.”
It would be a good psalm to sing in celebration on this day. They could see Jesus coming. Might he be the Messiah? The Holy One from God? He was riding a donkey – not a war animal like a horse, but an animal of peace. The crowds went crazy, slowing down to let him and his followers through.
23 This came from the Lord; it is wondrous in our sight.
24 This is the day the Lord has made; let’s rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Lord, save us! Lord, please grant us success!
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you.
Even those not singing started yelling the same words. “Hosanna” they called – which means ‘Lord save us’. The tune was in their heads. Not everyone could stop singing the song. Some continued singing, and the next bit gave them an idea.
27 The Lord is God and has given us light. Bind the festival procession with branches up to the horns of the altar.
They grabbed the branches off the palm trees nearby and started waving them madly. Coats and branches littered the ground welcoming Jesus on the small animal. Had the long awaited Messiah arrived?
29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his faithful love endures forever.
Scripture quotations marked CSB have been taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.