“And when He was come near, He beheld the city and wept over it.”
It was unlike anything they’d ever seen before.
“Here He comes,” the excited crowd shouted as Jesus neared the city walls of Jerusalem. Yet, to their amazement, He wasn’t adorned in shining armor. . .with His sword held high above His head, glistening in the sunlight. . .and riding upon a high-stepping, snorting-for-battle white stallion.
No, there He was.
Atop a dumb donkey’s colt. Weeping. A steady stream of tears running down his face, his beard soaking them up like a hairy sponge.
“What kind of messiah is this?” one bystander asks.
“Oh, it’s just a publicity stunt,” says another. “He’s just biding His time until he grabs his stallion and sword and starts cleaning house on those stinkin’ Romans!”
“Yea,” says a third. “But, I’m still a bit concerned about those tears.”
Tears and macho men don’t usually travel together.
We’re much more in tune with chisel-chinned leaders. . .with a cleft in their chin. . .a square jaw and a look of determination in their eyes.
“But, maybe He was just having a ‘bad hair’ day,” says one as they began shouting “Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed be the king that comes in the Name of the Lord! Peace in Heaven and glory in the highest!” (v.38; Mt. 21:9).
How soon those shouts of adoration would turn into murderous cries of condemnation: “Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” (Mk. 15:12-14). Such is always the nature of fickle flesh and unmet expectations.
Yet, dear Pilgrim, this weeping Savior wasn’t weeping because the people were rejecting Him; neither was He weeping because of His impending death. He was weeping because of their hard-hearted unbelief, even as He did that day on His way to Lazarus’ tomb (Jn. 11:35). How He longed to “gather them under His wings even as a mother hen does her chicks when danger is near—but they would not let Him” (Lk. 13:34).
Has there ever been any greater grief than that which Jesus experienced that day? No doubt He wept a lot, though largely unrecorded—for Heb 5:7 says He “offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears,” which means His prayers were often briny rivulets, streaming down His Face, with “groanings that cannot be put into words” (Rom. 8:26).
Our Lord knew they just didn’t get it. He knew in rejecting Him they were also rejecting His indescribable Peace (Lk. 19:42). And, they were also blind to the fact that the long-awaited “Day of their Visitation” was passing them by (v.44). May that not happen today—and, it won’t if we see the rain that falls from the sky intermingled with His tears that fall from His Throne of Mercy and Grace even now.
May 25, 2011