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What Shall I Do with Jesus? - Matthew 27

A service plan for the fourth Sunday of Lent planned around Matthew 27:22. This service is part of "Questions of the Last Week," a series of Lent service plans.

Worship Service
Also in this Series

Questions of the Last Week

This Lent series is titled "Questions of the Last Week." Each of the questions comes from the narratives of the week before Christ's resurrection. It is our hope and prayer that these series will provide you with variety, thoughtful content, and an excellent opportunity to enrich the spiritual journey of worshipers of all ages.

Theme of the Service

The question in this service was originally heard during the trial of Jesus before Pilate. This question comes from the lips of a troubled man who wanted to get Jesus "off his hands" and couldn't find a successful way to do it. In the process he voices this exclamatory question that captures the most far-reaching decision all humans will make.

* * * * *


Prelude: "As Moses Raised the Serpent Up" [see music notes]

The Call and Invitation to Worship

*Opening Hymn: "As Moses Raised the Serpent Up" PsH 219, RN 132, SFL 165

*The Welcome and Greeting

[see liturgy notes]

Anthem: "Lamb of God," Christiansen [see music notes]

The Call to Confession
Because we trust in God's grace and mercy, we are able to make our honest confessions to him without fear of rejection. We know he will be merciful. So let us call on him for his mercy and grace that we may be renewed.

The Prayer of Confession:
O Christ,
out of your fullness we have all received grace upon grace.
You are our eternal hope;
you are patient and full of mercy;
you are generous to all who call upon you.
Save us, Lord.
O Christ, fountain of life and holiness,
you have taken away our sins.
On the cross you were wounded for our transgressions
and were bruised for our iniquities.
Save us, Lord.
O Christ, obedient unto death,
source of all comfort,
our life and our resurrection,
our peace and reconciliation:
Save us, Lord.
O Christ, Savior of all who trust you,
hope of all who die for you,
and joy of all the saints:
Save us, Lord.
Jesus, Lamb of God,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, bearer of our sins,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, redeemer of the world,
grant us peace. Amen. (The Worship Sourcebook, J.2.2.7)
Sung: "Agnus Dei" [see music notes]

The Assurance of Pardon:
When the Holy Gospels give us the account of the suffering and death of our Savior Jesus Christ, they are reassuring us that he has laid down his life for his sheep. As you hear this account, receive in faith that he was ".pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wound we are healed."

Please rise for the reading of the Gospel.

*The reading of Matthew 27:32-44
This is the Gospel of Christ.
Thanks be to God.

On the basis of the Gospel of Christ, we may be assured that our sins are forgiven for the sake of Christ.

*Passing the Peace
The Peace of Christ be with you all.
And also with you.

(The worshipers greet each other saying, "The peace of Christ be with you.")

*Our Grateful Affirmation: [see liturgy notes]
What do you believe about your forgiveness?
We believe
that our blessedness lies in the forgiveness of our sins
because of Jesus Christ,
and that in it our righteousness before God is contained,
as David and Paul teach us
when they declare that man blessed
to whom God grants righteousness
apart from works.
Is such forgiveness given to you freely?
We are justified "freely" or "by grace"
through the redemption in Jesus Christ.
And therefore we cling to this foundation,
which is firm forever,
giving all glory to God,
humbling ourselves,
and recognizing ourselves as we are;
not claiming a thing for ourselves or our merits
and leaning and resting on the sole obedience of Christ crucified,
which is ours when we believe in him.
Does this forgiveness give you peace toward God?
This is enough to cover all our sins
and to make us confident,
freeing the conscience from the fear, dread, and terror of God's approach,
without doing what our first father, Adam, did,
who trembled as he tried to cover himself with fig leaves. (from The Belgic Confession of Faith, art.23)

*Song of Testimony: "I Worship You, O God" PsH 30

Anthem: "Amazing Grace" [see music notes]


The Prayer for Illumination

The Reading of Scripture: Matthew 27:11-26
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Sermon: What Shall I Do With Jesus?
Questions of the Last Week 4
Text: Matthew 27:22

The Prayer of Application


*Song: "My Jesus, I Love Thee" PsH 557, RN 275, TH 648, TWC 100/101, UMH 172

*Our Affirmation of Faith: Apostles' or Nicene Creed [see liturgy notes]

The Prayers of the People

The Offertory

The Offering of Music: "My Jesus, I Love Thee" [see music notes]

The Offering of Our Gifts


*The Words of Sending: Romans 10:9-11

*The Benediction with Congregational Amen

*Song: "At the Name of Jesus" PH 148, PsH 467, RL 336, RN 279, TH 163, TWC 266, UMH 168 [see music notes]
or: "He Is Lord" PsH 633, RN 29, SNC 160, SFL 178, TWC 97, UMH 177

Postlude: "At the Name of Jesus" [see music notes]

*You are invited to stand

* * * * *

Sermon Notes

Since the next two questions in this series of messages come from the lips of Pilate, it may be helpful to spend a short time giving some information about this man. Though we don't possess a great deal of personal information about him, it is clear that he was the Roman governor, appointed by and answerable to Caesar in Rome. As such, he was responsible for the southern half of Palestine which included the territory of the Jews and Samaritans. He was a powerful man who held life and death in his hands. Therefore, his permission was essential to the Jews who wanted to put Jesus to death.

Pilate raises two questions: "What shall I do with Jesus?" and "What is Truth?" Both are key questions that affect our understanding of everything else in life. The service this week focuses on the question of "what shall I do with Jesus?". This question could be easily lifted out of its context. However, the context has great influence on meaning. Many people wanted to get rid of Jesus, others loved him, and still others didn't know what to think. The events of this night in which Jesus was on trial illustrate the importance of asking the question. (We should note the significance of the last half of his statement, ".who is called Christ." Since "Christ" means "anointed one," the enormity of this question is clear.) Today some side with those who wanted to get rid of Jesus; others love him and profess him as the son of God. Others really don't know what do think.

But the question cannot be avoided. See John 3:36, Matthew 10:32-33 and Romans 10:9-10, as well as many other passages. Each person needs to answer Pilate's question, and the answer has enormous implications for all choices, from parenting to church ministry.

What shall we do with Jesus? This question is at the heart of Lent!

Music Notes:
Glossary of Hymnal Abbreviations:
PH The Presbyterian Hymnal (Presbyterian Church USA; Westminster/John Knox Press)
PsH The Psalter Hymnal (Christian Reformed Church; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
RL Rejoice in the Lord (Reformed Church in America; W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)
RN Renew! (Hope Publishing Company)
SFL Songs for LiFE (children's songbook; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
SNC Sing! A New Creation (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Christian Reformed Church,
Reformed Church in America; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
SWM Sing With Me (children's songbook; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
TH Trinity Hymnal (Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in America; Great
Commission Publications)
TWC The Worshiping Church (Hope Publishing Company)
UMH The United Methodist Hymnal (United Methodist Publishing House)
WOV With One Voice (Augsburg Fortress)

Suggestions for prelude and alternative harmonizations for the opening hymn can be found in the following resources:

GIFT OF LOVE/O WALY WALY ["As Moses Raised the Serpent Up"]

Diemer, Emma Lou. (1993) Augsburg Organ Library - Autumn. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7579-7
[2003] (M)
Ferguson, John. A Wedding Triptych. Morningstar MSM-10-650 [2003] (E-M)
Powell, Robert J. Sing a New Song. Augsburg 11-10766 [1996] (E-M)
Wood, Dale. Wood Works on International Folk Hymns. Sacred Music Press 70/1070 S [1995]

Carter, John. Today's Hymns and Songs for Piano. Hope 244 [1995] (E-M)
Porter, Rachel Trelstad. Day by Day. Augsburg 11-10772 [1996] (E-M)

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
Organ, Anne Krentz. Let It Rip! At the Piano, vol. 2. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7580-0 [2003]

The anthem suggestions for the service can be found as follows:
Christiansen, F. Melius. Lamb of God. Augsburg 11-0133 [1933] (SATB, unaccompanied; E-M)
Coates, John Jr. Amazing Grace. Shawnee A-1130 [1971] (SATB with piano; M)
Kallman, Daniel. Amazing Grace. Morningstar MSM-50-9073 [1995] (SATB with piano; M)

The text of "Agnus Dei," which has been spoken already in the prayer of confession, can also be repeated as a sung prayer. Musical settings of this text can be found directly in PsH 257 and SNC 253. A more contemporary indirect setting can be found in SWM 124.

Suggestions for offertory based on the sermon response hymn can be found in:

GORDON ["My Jesus, I Love Thee"]

Bish, Diane. The Diane Bish Organ Book, vol. 1. Fred Bock B-G0548 [1980] (M)
Goode, Jack. Seven Communion Meditations. Flammer HF-5084 [1976] (E-M)

Wilson, John F. This Is the Day. Hope 243 [1992] (E-M)

Sanders, Patricia A. My Jesus I Love Thee. Beckenhorst HB 96 [1990] (3-4 octaves /C
instrument, E-M)

Alternative harmonizations for the closing hymn as well as postlude suggestions can be found in the following resources:

KING'S WESTON ["At the Name of Jesus"]

Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
Burkhardt, Michael. As Though the Whole Creation Cried. Morningstar MSM-10-555 [2001]
Eggert, John. Creative Hymn Accompaniments for Organ, vol. 2. CPH97-6851 [2000]

Burkhardt, Michael. Praise and Thanksgiving, set 3. Morningstar MSM-10-753 [1990] (E-M)
Johnson, David N. Easy Trios. Augsburg 11-9291 [1969] (E)
Powell, Robert J. Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart. Augsburg 11-10478 [1994] (E-M)
Schaffner. John Hebden. Organ Music for the Seasons, vol. 2. Augsburg 11-11010 [1999] (E-M)
Stearns, Peter Pindar. Twelve Hymn Preludes for General Use. Flammer HF-5145 [1987] (E-M)

Gramann, Fred. Fantasy on "King's Weston." Agape 1671 [1994] (3-6 0ctaves, D)

Liturgy Notes

1. The Service of Confession/Renewal is designed to be a standard form for each week of Lent. This will reinforce its impact and meaning. Each Service will include both a spoken and a sung prayer of confession. And each week a different gospel reading will be included. These passages will be included in the weeks ahead:
March 25: Matthew 27:45-50
April 1: John 19:28-30

2. Worshipers have the opportunity after the Assurance of Pardon to give a grateful affirmation of their faith by using the words of the historic Belgic Confession of Faith. Article 23 is adapted so that it is in a format for responsive congregational use. To reprint for personal use, a ministry setting, or classroom us, include this credit line: © 1987, CRC Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. . Reprinted with permission.

3. The Affirmation of Faith may use the words of the Apostles' Creed or the Nicene Creed to publicly profess our unity with the worldwide body of Christ.

4. The Words of Sending are again a clear statement that our profession of Jesus Christ is the only path to salvation. It intends to reinforce the message of the sermon.


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