Sermon Starters

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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

Passion/Palm Sunday-B

Option A: From Rev. Kelly Bedard

"The Prints of Peace"
Zechariah 9:9-10

A. A Peaceful King

1. "Righteous and having salvation" (verse 9b)

a. Conforming to divine standards of morality and ethics

b. Perfectly carrying out the will of His Father

c. Through God, reigning both over history and in history

2. "Gentle and riding on a donkey" (verse 9c)

a. Both a physical and, ultimately, spiritual disarmament platform

b. Winning hearts with truth, not force

B. A Peaceful Kingdom

1. The King, not His subjects, comes in humility, gives His all

2. Not peace and independence but, rather, peace and submission (He still rules! [verse 10b])


1. Ruwa ("shout") means "to mar, especially by breaking; to split the ears; shout with alarm or joy; a cry of triumph."

2. Debunking the donkey/humility myth

a. Though historically the royal mount, donkeys were not prominent as a mode of courtly transport after Solomon

b. Donkeys are not necessarily more peaceful than horses (ever try to move or ride one?), but the tasks they perform are more for peace- than for war-time

3. Ephraim and Jerusalem connote the northern and southern kingdoms, separated during Zechariah's day, but destined for peace and unity--so also us!

Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.


Option B: From Rev. Wayne Dobratz

"Who Is This Humble Man?"
Matthew 21:1-11

I This Is The Prophet God Promised To Send As Our Teacher

A. The teacher sent from God who is one of our brothers

1. As we see in Deut. 18:15-18

2. As identified by the "Woman at the Well" in John 4:25-26

B. The prophet God promised to send as our humble King.

1. As predicted in Zech. 9:9

2. He comes as a Prophet-King to make peace between God and man

3. He is humble--the Hebrew word aniy means "afflicted, humble, poor, lowly."

II This Is The Son Of God Who Brings Salvation

A. The Hebrew word "hosanna" means "Save us, now!"

B. By entering into Jerusalem in this way, Jesus sealed the cross as his destination. Dr. Paul Meier, Professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University, explains in his book First Easter.

"The prophet Zechariah had foretold the arrival of the messianic king to Jerusalem via this humble conveyance, and here the crowd was according a wildly triumphant reception to one whom they hailed as ‘the son of David,’ a loaded name in a loaded place, for many Jews expected the Messiah to be declared as king on this very Mount of Olives….

The priestly establishment in Jerusalem witnessed the procession also, catching and enlarging upon any political overtones in the demonstration. Might not the waving of palm branches be symbolic, since the palm was the national emblem of an independent Palestine. What if Jesus should claim to be heir to the throne of David in a restored Judean kingdom? The crowd was already calling Him the king of Israel…

Caiaphas, the high priest, must have cast a worried glance westward, in the direction of Herod’s palace, where the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, had just arrived from Caesarea for the Passover. In case any demonstration, such as this one, might get out of hand. 

Caiaphas must have wondered at the boldness of the Rabbi from Galilee--the very man for whom arrest notices had been posted across the land--was now coming directly into Jerusalem in the most public way possible."

C. He laid aside His prerogatives as God’s Son to become obedient to the death of the cross. Phil. 2:5-10

III Those Who Desire His Salvation Must Also Humble Themselves

A. As Paul writes in Phil. 2:5ff

B. As Peter writes in 1 Peter 5:5-6

"All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time."

C. As it is written in James 4:10, "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up."


Andrew Murray wrote: "I used to think that God’s gifts were on shelves one above another and that the taller we grow, the easier we can reach them. Now I find that God’s greatest gifts are on shelves one beneath another, and the lower we stoop, the more we get." "Your attitude should the same as that of Christ Jesus," Paul wrote.

Copernicus chose to model his attitude upon that of the dying repentant thief who Jesus said would join him in paradise. Written on the tomb of Copernicus at Frauenberg is found this inscription: "I do not seek a kindness equal to Paul. Nor do I ask the grace granted to Peter. But that pardon, which you gave to the dying thief--for that I pray most earnestly. "

Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.S., M.Div.

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