Blessed Is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord! – Part 2
“As [Jesus] approached Jerusalem, and saw the city, he wept over it…” (Luke 19:41 NIV)
There was a lot of emotion on display that day, when Jesus, mounted on a donkey, descended from the Mount of Olives on his way to Jerusalem for the last time. A week later he would be crucified in that city.
The people cheered and rejoiced as they spread their cloaks on the ground before Jesus; and they praised him, waving palm branches and shouting, “Hosanna!” because of all the miracles he had done. The religious leaders, for their part, were irate and profoundly offended at the people’s praise; and they sought to tamp it down by demanding that Jesus rebuke his followers.
And in the midst of it all, you had Jesus. As he saw the city of Jerusalem before him, he wept; and the verb used there in the original language speaks of convulsive sobbing. Imagine the emotion being poured out as the crowd celebrated, the Pharisees raged, and Jesus wept, crying out, “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how many times I would have helped you, but you wouldn’t let me, because you didn’t know what would bring you peace.” Jesus knew that they would now be blinded, because when a person hears about Jesus and repeatedly rejects his gospel of peace, their heart gets calloused. Jesus then prophesied what would happen in 70 A.D. when the walls of the city would be broken down and the temple would be desecrated by the Romans. No wonder he wept over Jerusalem.
Jesus also knew that Jerusalem had never understood what makes for peace. Money doesn’t make for peace; fame doesn’t make for peace; the attainment of all the knowledge in the world doesn’t make for peace. What Jesus was talking about was a very special kind of peace—the shalom of God—which speaks of tranquility and well-being and the blessing of God. Jesus was saying, “If you had only known the peace that was available to you— peace that would enable you to sleep at night, so that you wouldn’t be afraid of not waking up—everything would have changed.” You see, when you have God’s peace, you can look at death and the grave and say, “Where is your victory?"
The people may have thought back then, just as they do today, that by just trying to live a good life, they could have peace. But that’s not the way to have peace. God does want us to live a good life, but he wants us to start by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ and receiving him as our Lord and Savior. We could never earn salvation, but he gave it to us freely by taking on himself the punishment that we deserved because of our sins.
Today Jesus continues to invite people to come to him, just as he did back then. If Jesus wept over Jerusalem two thousand years ago, what is he doing today over New York City, Los Angeles, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Nairobi, Buenos Aires, and other cities all over the world? It still hurts him when people reject him in their quest for things that don’t satisfy and that will not bring them peace.
Judgment doesn’t make God happy; what makes him happy is to show mercy. In fact, he delights in mercy. He delights in helping people and giving them peace.
If you don’t know Jesus, you can have that peace today by asking him to forgive your sins and by accepting his atonement on the cross so that you can have your sins washed away, restored relationship with your heavenly Father, and eternal life. And if you are a believer, you may want to take this time to pray for your friends and loved ones who don’t know the Lord, that they too might come to understand what makes for true peace by accepting the good news of Jesus—the gospel of peace.
Read Luke 19:41-44.