Palm/Passion Sunday A

The Christ Hymn! Some solid reflection on the two natures of Christ and the institution of communion. With a side order of oaths. Such fun for a Sunday!

Philippians 2:5-11

Verse 7 is cited through editorial insert in Formula of Concord, Epitome, Article 8: The Person of Christ, Affirmative Thesis 10 (Ep 8.16) as a reminder the Jesus took on the form of a servant in becoming human, a form he left behind in his resurrection.

Verse 7 comes up through editorial insert in the fuller statement of this thought in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 8: Person of Christ (SD 8.26) reiterating that Jesus took on the form of a servant in his incarnation, but left the servant form behind in his resurrection while maintaining his human nature. This section also emphasizes that during his incarnation, Jesus did not lose his divine majesty, but simply kept is in check except in those moments when he chose to show it.

Verse 8 is cited through editorial insert in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 3: Righteousness (SD 3.56) in the careful unpacking of the logic of Jesus' righteousness being imparted to Christians. The chief point being that both his divine and human nature are necessary for the imputation of righteousness to be both possible and efficacious. Jesus' faithfulness to the Father's will, which led him to the cross, would be useless to us without Jesus' two natures being completely and fully present.

Matthew 26:14-27:66

Chapter 26

Verses 26 through 28 are cited in two footnotes to The Small Catechism, Sacrament of the Altar, (SC 5, n. 98, and 5.4, n. 99). The first citation marks that the woodcut above is the picture of these verses. The second citation notes that the words of institution are a mash up of several different texts, one of which is this passage in Matthew. These same verses appear in a footnote to The Large Catechism, Sacrament of the Altar (LC 5.2, n. 226) mentioning the same mash up.

These verses are also cited, again through editorial insert, in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 7: Holy Supper (SD 7.44) along with the parallel passages from Mark and Luke showing where Jesus instituted the sacrament of communion.

Verses 26 and 28 are called out in particular in Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article 12: Repentance (AP 12.42) showing that communion (along with baptism) are means of God's grace, sure practices where we hear and receive the forgiveness of sins.

These verses come up in tandem again in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 7: Holy Supper (SD 7.52, 53) to show that the parallels between Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Paul on the bread portion of Jesus' institution of communion  (verse 26) means we can receive Matthew and Mark's extended statement regarding the cup (verse 28) as a faithful explanation of Jesus' words.

Verse 26 is cited by the editor along with the Mark and Luke parallels and the passage from 1 Corinthians in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 7: Holy Supper (SD 7.35) to argue that the essence of the bread is unchanged but united with Christ in the sacrament rather than the essence of the bread being changed into Christ.

Verse 27 is quoted in The Augsburg Confession, Article 22: Concerning Both Kinds of the Sacrament (AC 22.1) as the scriptural evidence for giving the laity the cup during communion.

Verses 63 and 64 are cited in a footnote to The Large Catechism, Part 1: The Ten Commandments, The Second Commandment (LC 1.65, n. 56) as an example of Jesus taking an oath, which shows along with other citation in the footnote, that Christians can faithfully swear oaths "in support of the good and for the advantage of our neighbor" (LC 1.66).

Chapter 27

Verses 3 though 5 are cited in a footnote in Smalcald Articles, Part 3, Section 3: Concerning Repentance (SA 3.3.7, n. 93) showing in Judas' end the effect of the law without the gospel and leads to repentance and new life.

Verse 31 and following is the basis for the woodcut that goes with The Small Catechism, The Lord's Prayer: The Third Petition (SC 3.9, n. 66). If I can find a picture of it, I'll get it posted here.


It is worth reflecting on the necessity of the two natures of Christ making the paschal event efficacious for us, especially given the duality of tone in Palm/Passion Sunday. The strong juxtaposition of exultation and humiliation continues to challenge our expectations on where we might see God at work.

  • Can the finite contain the infinite?
  • Are there ways we can more clearly announce God's forgiveness of sins?