Originally published April 18, 2011
It was hardly a day for tears.
It was a day that should have been the high point of His ministry.
As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”Luke 19:37-38
After three years of hard work and harder prayer, miracles, and countless hours of teaching, the people were finally getting it. They recognized that Jesus was the Messiah. His people were giving Him the praise He was due.
Or were they?
And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it,Luke 19:41
What’s this? This isn’t part of the Palm Sunday pageant. In every Bible, commentary, and Sunday School lesson, this scene is called “The Triumphal Entry”. Why is Jesus over there crying? What’s that He’s saying?
saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”Luke 19:42-44
Once again, Jesus sees through the outer display of behavior and lays the heart of the people bare.
They’re praising Him because He multiplied bread and fish.
Because He healed diseases.
Because they think their Messiah has come to set them free from Roman oppression.
They don’t get it after all. And that’s why He’s weeping.
They don’t get that Jesus didn’t come to give us stuff. They don’t get that the bondage of sin is far worse than enslavement to Rome. They don’t get that taking up a cross and following Jesus will get them something far sweeter and deeper and more satisfying than all the miracles and riches and healings in the world. It will get them Jesus. And that’s what He wants to give them.
And as I watch my Savior’s heart break over His people so many years ago, I wonder– is He still weeping today?
Every Sunday, we, Jesus’ people, offer Him loud Hosannas. We lift our palms in celebration of His goodness and blessings. We sing out His praise. We kneel before Him.
But is He weeping?
Does He see through our outward behavior to a heart that just wants worldly trinkets from Him? Does He see a church that draws near to Him with its lips but whose heart is far from Him? A stiff-necked people who deign to physically bow the knee but not crucify the will?
Are we the new Jerusalem?