Sunday 4 April – Church at Home

Welcome to Broughty Ferry Baptist Church online on Sunday morning 5 April 2020. It is the start of Holy week that for most churches would have had a very familiar pattern to the services and activities. However, for the first time in 2,000 years, once more, there will not be a church open around the globe. Yet we still gather in every nation to worship the King of Kings today.


Call to Worship:

The Lord has made proclamation
    to the ends of the earth:
‘Say to Daughter Zion,
    “See, your Saviour comes!
See, his reward is with him,
    and his recompense accompanies him.”’
12 They will be called the Holy People,
    the Redeemed of the Lord;
and you will be called Sought After,
    the City No Longer Deserted.

Isaiah 62:11-12

The recipients of these words had suffered devastating losses in their personal and national life.  The towns and villages, the communities in which many of them had grown up were deathly silent, familiar faces absent and feet no longer treading those streets. The words are a picture of renewal and future restoration – in our current situation to a lesser degree than the first recipients of these prophetic words, we too take hope and inspiration from one of two passages Jesus had in mind when He entered into Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday.     

We are very grateful Chris and Eileen for choosing worship songs for our service today.

Our first worship song is: Hosanna (Paul Baloche). We express our adoration and praise to God in this song. The lyrics are applicable here “When we see You, we find strength to face the day… your presence all our fears are washed away….” 

Paul Baloche – Hosanna (Praise is Rising)

Our second song which is probably a new song for many of us is entitled: King of Kings (Hillsong)  The song reminds us of the reason why Christ came and how he subsequently die on the cross for us. Then the exaltation for us to praise God for all He has done.

Hillsong Worship – King of Kings

Our last song before we come to prayer is the uplifting worship song about the wonderful name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ What a beautiful name

Hillsong Worship – What a Beautiful Name

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father what a wonderful joy and privilege to come into Your holy presence today through the wonderful and precious name of Your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. His entry into Jerusalem two thousand years ago was a remarkable declaration of His calling as the Prince of Peace.

In the Zechariah prophecy of 500 years earlier, it was stated that the coming King would do something extraordinary: He would proclaim peace to the nations (Zechariah 9:10b). In a world of never ending conflict between nations and sadly sometimes even in families, we thank You that You came to proclaim a vision of a different way of relating, both to us and with one another.

We come as sinful people who have failed time and again to live up to Your perfect standards, yet we come humbly seeking Your forgiveness and loving kindness to purify our hearts afresh so that we may enter this new week with our past taken care of through Jesus’ sacrifice for us.

Empower us afresh in this new week by Your Holy Spirit to cope with the mix of life circumstances we will face. We come in genuine hope of a better future once this crisis is over because You are on the throne. Thank you Lord for all You have done for us, we give you our grateful thanks in Jesus’ precious name, Amen. 

Let us say together the words Jesus taught His disciples when He said:

‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.'”      
For Yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever Amen.’

Jesus Strong and Kind (CityAlight) –  This new song is appropriate for younger and older people alike. 

City Alight – Jesus, Strong and Kind

Special links for children and young adult activities:

JAM Kids’ focus: There is the third of a series of Bible based activities for children on the Out of the Box website.   This series looks at the Armour of God from Ephesians 6. Click on the link below to view:

Activity sheet available here:

There is also focussed on the same Bible passage as today’s message, a Palm Sunday children’s talk and activity:

JAM young adults Ignite Live have a separate programme on the Zoom platform –parents of teenagers can get a link code by contacting Gary Torbet on

Our next song is an older song often sung in churches on Palm Sunday during the last two centuries, Ride on, ride on in majesty. It speaks of both of Palm Sunday and the cosmic significance of the coming of Jesus that first Easter.

The Bible reading for today is from Matthew 21:1-11:

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.’ This took place to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet: ‘Say to Daughter Zion,“See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”’

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!’ 10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, ‘Who is this?’ 11 The crowds answered, ‘This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.’

Prayers for Others

Heavenly Father,

Once more we have gathered in Your holy presence with heavy hearts as we come before you with so many needs on our hearts. We come conscious of the hardship so many people are going through in country after country around the globe as the Covid-19 virus continues to cause such devastation in so many lives. There are so many things we could pray for today. We continue to remember the frontline NHS workers who serve at such great risk to their own health, but we also remember others in our prayers including:

Giving thanks for all the supermarket workers, pharmacy workers and other essential workers at this time. We pray that suitable working practices will be put in place to help them feel less vulnerable during this time.

We pray for all those people who rely on social care provision, which is currently diminished at this time of crisis. Pray for those workers who are working in a very demanding time. Pray for volunteers and families trying to keep their loved ones cared for during this challenging time.

We give thanks for the work of Police Scotland within our towns, cities and rural communities. Pray for the men and women in our police force as they face many hazardous and challenging situations as they work among our communities, particularly at this time of national crisis.

We also remember hospital chaplains. These include:

Jarod Meenan (Chaplain, NHS Healthcare Aberdeen) – Having embraced this new role in January, please pray for the life-changing work of the Chaplaincy across NHS Grampian: Please pray that the spiritual care given by the 10 Chaplains, associated staff, and many more volunteers would increasingly honour our Lord and make significant differences to the lives of many patients, relatives and staff. Please also pray for my own contribution as I adapt to this new role, by seeking to build strong relationships with the rest of the team and demonstrate the love of God with individuals and groups.

And Jim Meighan (Chaplain, Royal Hospital for Children) – As the NHS is under an enormous strain, please pray for the chaplains as we seek to maintain morale and keep the staff sane, grounded and supported. In the months ahead we may well be asked to handle more than we can easily bear. Pray that the staff will have sufficient resilience and capacity to deal with anything that is thrown their way. Pray that they are supported in ways that allow them to do the job to the best of their ability.

We pray also for other churches around our country and throughout the wider world seeking to serve their communities at this time. We also remember sister churches in our own country including:

Coatbridge Baptist Church – There are times when the prayer needs of our churches and the prayer needs for our nation collide and this is one of those times, so your prayers become our prayers and vice versa. We ask for prayer for the protection of all, but especially the most vulnerable as well as those working on the front line. We ask God for wisdom for those in leadership as to how they can continue to be ‘church in isolation’ and how the spiritual, physical and material needs of our congregations can be met. We pray too that through all of this our faith in Christ and our trust in God will strengthened.

Collydean Baptist Church – We praise God for a real sense of growth in discipleship, but would ask for prayer for wisdom in how to keep maturing and growing as a community that is relatively young in faith. We would also ask for prayer as we restructure our leadership to be more effective in managing a growing community as needs change. Finally for wisdom regards continued development and funding of youth work.

Cornton Baptist Church – We praise God for three ladies who were baptised in December. Please pray for them as they continue to grow in Christ. We are grateful too for our new youth worker, Bill. Pray for him as he settles into the role and begins looking at new initiatives for us (e.g. Messy Church). Pray that we would continue to demonstrate God’s love in action in Cornton.   

In our own congregation we remember to pray for one another this week. Today we rejoice with Anne M in the safe arrival of her grandchild; We thank God that Betty R is due out of hospital tomorrow. We pray for your comfort for Elizabeth F (and her family) whose nephew died in Australia last week. We also pray for Betty W and her family going through an extremely difficult time as her grand-daughter Paula has been so unwell. We also remember in our prayers other people we wish to mention at this time

We give thanks that Eastertime is an opportunity for churches to engage with their communities on the real meaning of Easter. We pray for churches across Scotland who will be creating online resources to share with others, particularly resources for children. We pray that children who don’t know the Easter story will learn about Jesus’ love for them.

Our song before we come to the message from God’s Word was written for a Good Friday service in 2005.It is a favourite hymn of many Christians today:

Getty’s & Stuart Townend – The Power of the Cross


Filmed version of a Palm Sunday message on Matthew 21:1-11:

Palm Sunday -Adjusting to the unexpected Matthew 21:1-11


It could have been an ordinary day in the Jewish religious calendar. Most people in the country were observing the special season of the year associated with the Passover Festival in which the people of Israel gathered to celebrate the remarkable formation of the nation in the time of Moses when a group of enslaved people gained their freedom from a tyrannical regime in Egypt. This season was a time to look back with gratitude for current blessings and to realise how much tougher life had been for their ancestors many centuries earlier. It is no accident that the biblical festivals have historical roots that place present observance of faith in a wider communal context. Then and now human beings have needed to be reminded that our generation is rarely unique in what it experiences – most of what we go through has been experienced before.

The question we might ask is what similarities and what dissimilarities are there between them. If we are taking about epidemics or plagues of former eras then the one huge difference between events of the past and anything experienced today is both the much greater medical knowledge of the transmission of infections together with the advances of modern medical care that enables many more people to survive catching infectious diseases today.

Quite a few people on social media have suggested that this is a time that might be profitably used by humanity in general and by definition each one of us individually to reflect on how we live our lives and whether there are things we might do better once this time of restrictions on our movements is over. What has been your primary focus recently? Is it is primarily frustration over what you cannot do or is there a greater sense of gratitude for the many small or more significant things that we enjoyed and may once more be able to appreciate once this crisis is over. What Jesus did that first Palm Sunday was to reset the agenda and perspective for those participating in this Festival. What happened that day?   

1. A simple request (Matthew 21:1-3, 6-7)

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and He will send them right away”… The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them.

(Matthew 21:1-3, 6-7)

Bethphage was on the outskirts of Jerusalem, separated from the city by the steep Kidron Valley. The route over the Mount of Olives was the normal route taken by people approaching Jerusalem from the East.  Here two unnamed followers of Jesus were sent to carry out a task by Jesus. Did they understand the significance of what they were doing at the time? I doubt it. What is clear is that as disciples they were obedient to their master and did as He requested. It was only later, probably after the Christian Church began, that they put all the pieces together and grasped what Jesus was doing that day.

In our lives and service for God we too will live in a certain way and make particular choices that we may not see the significance of at the time. It may be that observing a constant Christian witness is a significant pointer for another person in coming to know Jesus for themselves. It is so often not the words we say that count most but the example of a life lived with consistency to the faith we profess. There is a place for words and we should pray for that opportunity to point people to the Lord Jesus, but words are much more powerful when backed up by a life that is lived to the glory of God. Jesus was consciously modelling a way of life for His followers and invites us to follow Him.

Our calling is one of Christian service to others. You and I are most unlikely to be on donkey collection duty this week! However, there may be a vast number of small acts of kindness between us that we could do for others in need.  If we ask God at the start of our days –‘Show me how I can live for you today?’ and be open to the opportunities God gives, then life becomes simpler and more attainable. Too often we get frustrated or discouraged that we have not done something big – then it was donkey collection, but who knows what might be possible today!      

2. A divine revelation (Matthew 21:4-5)

4This took place to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet:5“Say to the Daughter of Zion’ See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey’.

(Matthew 21:4-5)

The major events in Jesus’ life were not accidents but rather part of God’s plan and purpose for His time on earth. It is thought that Matthew had two passages of the Bible in mind when he made this reference to the Old Testament.

(a) The Coming of the King (Zechariah 9:9)
First of all, the more familiar one in Zechariah 9:9: Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey… It refers directly to the Jewish people –their Saviour was coming into the city. The question for them was this: would they recognise Him? Not in the sense of would they know His name, but would they receive Him as their Saviour? Daughter of Jerusalem [or Zion] simply means ‘resident of Jerusalem’ in more plain speech. They had looked down on Jesus because He was from Galilee.

(b) The Message to the Nations (Isaiah 62:11)
A less familiar passage: The Lord has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your Saviour comes! See, His reward is with Him, and His recompense accompanies Him;

The event of that first Palm Sunday was not only for the people present in that geographical location, it was also for the people of every other nation on the planet. The message they had treasured as Jews was too good to keep to themselves it had to be shared. What we have learned so powerfully in just a few weeks is that our social restrictions do not prevent us communicating with others. On-line I have spoken to or messaged far more people than at any previous time, and so will many of you. Friends whether across the world or across the street may appear just as close on social media platforms. We have no excuse for not attempting to share the greatest good news story of all even without stepping outside our own front doors.  

3. The Response from the Crowds (Matthew 21:8-11)

It is no surprise that there was a mixed reaction to what Jesus was doing. Then, as well as now, it is impossible to please all of the people all of the time; what was the reaction then?

(a)Rejection (Matthew 21:10-11)
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” 11The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

The local people were surprised and a bit cynical about these Galileans –some Scots might compare it to the traditional rivalry between the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow with some residents of the east apparently looking down on their poorer fellow-Scots from the west! The richer urban dwellers from the region around Jerusalem thought little of the poorer folk from Galilee. It was pure prejudice but until Jesus appeared on the scene it had not been challenged. God’s special messenger chose to be based in Galilee! It was too much for some of these residents to accept. Little did they suspect the even greater shock God had in store for them on Easter Sunday! In fairness the vocabulary of social class prejudice was unknown to them – but then and now it is real. Do you and I have any ‘blind spots’ in terms of how we view other people? Do we view some people as better than others?

(b) Acceptance  (Matthew 21:8-9)
A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosannato the Son of David! “”Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!”

Hosanna means ‘save us’. It was a declaration that Jesus was the Messiah, the person the Old Testament was speaking about. Yet were they really accepting what Jesus was offering to them? How genuine was the profession of faith of these Galilean villagers?

It was easy to utter these praises in a crowd of many tens of thousands. It is not difficult to confess our faith in Jesus in church. However, it is altogether different to do so in the school playground; the office or in some cases our family homes. What is your response to Jesus? He is not asking us to take off our coats and necessarily wave palm branches, but He does want us to come to faith in Him and to tell others about Him and to live and serve in a way that pleases Him. Can He count on you to be one of His followers to witness and to work for Him? I hope so for Jesus’ sake, Amen.

Our closing song is a declaration of our desire to live for God in this new week.

We’ll Walk the Land

Benediction:  The Grace

May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the love of God
and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore, Amen

Remember tonight the national online prayer service at 7pm in Scotland at this link: