Preaching Mark or John for Palm Sunday?

All things are ready, if our minds be so. –William Shakespeare

The Revised Common Lectionary provides a choice for Palm Sunday between Mark and John. There are some differences, the main one being that Mark includes the preparation instructions Jesus gave his disciples.

When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. 3If anyone says to you, “Why are you doing this?” just say this, “The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.” (NRSV)

John 12:12-16 is the account of Jesus entering Jerusalem, but his is shorter. It does include the description that the branches were palms, whereas the other just use “branches.” There are, however, no words from John about any kind of preparation. The donkey just appears.

I am choosing Mark’s Gospel for this week, as I am thinking much about the preparation Jesus made for his parade moment. I’m taking Mark’s angle on this in that Jesus knew what he was doing.  His plan took preparation. His mind was ready, not only for the parade of palm branches and “Hosanna” shouts, but for what was awaiting him in Jerusalem.

The disciples who “borrowed” the donkey were all a part of the plan as well. Jesus relied on them to make this parade happen. Nothing much has changed with his inclusion of us in his plans. We have a parade to ready.

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