Sermon Notes from our Pastors


sixth Sunday of Lent-Passion/Palm sunday-april 2, 2023

 The Messiah who gives his life for his sheep (John 81:1-19;42)

All four Gospels record the passion (which means “suffering”) of Jesus Christ. Generally, scholars treat these passion narratives as beginning with Jesus’ agony and arrest in Gethsemane and concluding with his burial. The sections to which these narratives are typically assigned consist therefore of Matthew 26:30–27:66, Mark 14:26–15:47, Luke 22:39–23:56, and John 18:1–19:42 (article “Passion Narratives” by Ellen B. Aitken in Oxford Bibliographies).
John’s gospel is different to the other three – Matthew, Mark and Luke (also called the “synoptic” – literally meaning “seen together” – gospels). John emphasizes Jesus as the “Christ,” the Messiah. However this Messiah was one who came in love and compassion most starkly shown through the entire passion story. Yes, his death was a tragedy, one of violent death. But it is overwhelmed by the power of redemptive love. “For John, Jesus is the Word made flesh, sent to reveal the abiding love of God for the world. The most compelling statement of that love is, paradoxically, the death of Jesus. In giving his life “for his friends” (15:13)–the most noble of human actions–Jesus reveals God’s overwhelming love for the world. From the perspective of faith, the death of Jesus is a word of life” (from the article “The Passion in the gospel of John, johns-gospel).
As you read or/and hear the passion of Jesus Christ according to the gospel of John take time to notice how the divinity of Jesus and the love of God is most completely shown through Christ’s
suffering. He was willing to “drink the cup” of the passion because in so doing he would fulfill his mission of revealing God’s love for the world.
Here is what Caroline Harvey writes in her article “Reflection on the Passion with John’s Gospel (
How often do we think, “If only I could have witnessed the Resurrection or one of Jesus’ miracles, then my faith would be stronger.” And Jesus is actually refuting that—which St. John magnifies through his description of the Passion. We did not have to be present at the Cross to know what Jesus’ wounds looked like. His wounds are our own. What we hide in the secret recesses of our hearts—our mistakes, our greatest causes of shame and fear, our deepest hurts—Jesus displayed publicly on his body. He hung on the Cross bearing everything that makes us degraded, our sins and wounds. And we look upon him whom we have pierced whenever we face those sins and wounds.
Know as you look at your own wounds there was only one way for them to be healed. Don’t turn away from God because of fear, or stubbornness, or unbelief, or even because there are wounds too deep within you. Know that in his suffering Jesus bore and experienced all of that for you, for us. Isaiah 53 is a beautiful chapter that talks about the suffering servant who we discover is Jesus. In verse 5 the prophet says: “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Peter would later take this verse and apply it to Jesus: “’He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his  wounds you have been healed.’”
May you discover and experience this Holy Week that your deepest wounds can be healed, truly healed…because of what Jesus did on the Cross.