God gives; God opens; and God helps

Palm Sunday, Year B, Old Testament Lesson Plan

Scripture: Isaiah 50:4-9a

In this section of Isaiah we hear what is sometimes called the third servant song. Isaiah 40-55 are passages that talk about the image of a suffering servant. The lectionary preparers likely chose this reading for Palm Sunday as a foreshadowing of the suffering Jesus was going to endure in Jerusalem. The servant illustrated in the servant songs is a wise and loyal follower of God who will have a gentle heart, a trained tongue, a listening ear, and the courage to love with sacrificial love. The way the passages are written invites the reader to imagine him/herself as the servant just as we so often try to insert the image of Christ into this servant role.

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LPTW Palm Sunday, Year B, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Palm Sunday, Year B, Older Children, Old Testament

The Suffering Servant

Palm Sunday, Year C, Old Testament Lesson
Scripture: Isaiah 50:4-9

It is Palm Sunday! Isaiah 50:4-9 is read in all three lectionary years, regardless of which Gospel account is given. This reflects the long understanding of the Christian church that Jesus is the suffering servant described in Isaiah.

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LPTW Palm Sunday, Year C, Old Testament, Younger Children
LPTW Palm Sunday, Year C, Old Testament, Older Children

Walk with Jesus

Palm Sunday, Year B
Scripture: Mark 14:1-15 or Mark 15:1-39(40-47)

Abundance, not scarcity. The costliest of ointments poured out for Jesus. A man carrying a jar of water – work usually reserved for women – shows the way to the Passover meal. Pilate may have had generosity as one of his motives in offering the crowd Jesus’ release, but they choose Barabbas; and so Jesus is crucified. The words pierce us across the centuries. A soldier who had stood guard exclaims: “Truly this man was God’s Son.” This conviction continues to penetrate our souls, creating a space to house the incredible news of Easter.

Download the lesson plans for Palm Sunday, Year B

LPTW Palm Sunday, Year B, Younger Children
LPTW Palm Sunday, Year B, Older Children
LPTW Palm Sunday, Year B, Adults
LPTW Palm Sunday, Year B, All

Prophets and Role Models

Palm Sunday, Old Testament Lesson, Year A,
Scripture: Isaiah 50:4-9a

Isaiah 50:4-9 is identified as the third Servant Song. Here the prophet, who was taught by God, faithfully delivers God’s message of comfort to his fellow Israelites, despite their cruel treatment of him. This passage’s placement in the Palm Sunday lectionary signals the harsh torture that awaits Jesus in the course of Holy Week.

Download the Old Testament Lesson Plan for Palm Sunday

LPTW Palm Sunday, Year A, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Palm Sunday, Year A, Older Children, Old Testament

The Crucifixion

Palm Sunday, Year A
Scripture: Matthew (26:36-75) 27:1-54 (55-66)

As we hear the story of Christ’s passion today, how do we hear it anew? Where is this story hitting us differently this year? I wonder what questions you bring to the story and how it relates to your life today.

Download the Lesson Plans for Palm Sunday

LPTW Palm Sunday, Year A, Younger Children
LPTW Palm Sunday, Year A, Older Children
LPTW Palm Sunday, Year A, Adult
LPTW Palm Sunday, Year A, All

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday, Year C
Scripture: Luke 23:1-49

Gathered in our comfortable churches, we struggle to let the difficult words of the Crucifixion land anywhere in our psyches. Would any of us have been there, or would we have waited for the news to reach us? Had we shown up, would we have demanded that Barabbas be released instead of Jesus? Would we have stood with the few at the foot of the cross? What time will we scrounge in the week ahead to pause and squint at the grace of this awesome love?

Download the Lesson Plans for Palm Sunday

LPTW Palm Sunday, Year C, Adults
LPTW Palm Sunday, Year C, Older Children
LPTW Palm Sunday, Year C, Younger Children