41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. (Luke 19:41-43 NIV)
On Sunday people all over the world celebrated Palm Sunday. Most people think of Jesus’ triumphant ride into Jerusalem when they think about Palm Sunday. They think of the adoring crowd waving palm branches, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed be the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” For those who were there to welcome Jesus to Jerusalem, there were other things running through their minds. They had visions of the overthrow of the Romans who kept their thumbs on the Jews in the land. They hoped that Jesus would be the conquering King who would call out the tanks and troops and whip the Romans. They didn’t get it. Jesus would have none of it.
The Scripture for today makes it very clear that Jesus knew they didn’t understand. They wouldn’t understand. Jesus, before He rode into Jerusalem, stopped outside of the city, and cried as He thought about those who just didn’t understand. He said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes.” They wanted to do things their way instead of God’s way. What they couldn’t see was that it was not going to work out as they thought it would. Rather than restoring peace to the land, they would bring destruction on themselves as the Romans would finally get fed up and destroy the city in 70 A.D. Jesus knew this…and He wept.
This really boggles my mind. It wasn’t that Jesus thought to Himself, “I’ll give them one more chance.” He knew there was nothing He could say to change their mind. He knew what was awaiting Him as He made His way into Jerusalem. He knew that those who would cheer for Him would eventually yell, “Crucify Him!” Still He wept. He wasn’t bitter, He wept. He didn’t get angry, He wept. He wasn’t disgusted, dismayed, or defensive–He wept. In a few days He would willingly give His life for those who wanted Him to be something different than what He was, but on Palm Sunday He paused, before all of the chaos broke, and He simply wept over the city. He could have turned back, but He dried His tears and rode on. I’m so glad He did.