Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem focused the entire city’s attention on his Messiahship, so that wherever he went during the final week of his life crowds followed him. Jesus basically flung down the gauntlet to his enemies. It defined who he was and what he had come to do. His enemies could stand a lot, but this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. When Jesus began to publically acknowledge that he was the Messiah this was the one intolerable thing they cannot stand for any longer. Jesus was issuing a challenge to the religious establishment. Every hosanna drove a nail in the cross. Let the powers of evil do their very worst and God’s power would defeat them. He was the Lord’s anointed one. He was the one who was more than prepared to handle their best shots.
But as Jesus and his entourage wound their way around Olivet, the city suddenly came within vision and Jesus stopped and looked intently at the city. To their amazement the disciples saw tears running down Jesus’ cheek as he wept over the city. His heart was aching for the stubbornness, the hardheartedness, the spiritual blindness of the city that he loved. They did not realize that he was foreseeing Jerusalem’s future when the city would be destroyed. Does he still weep over the cities of the world today? I believe Jesus weeps over the poverty in our cities, the homeless people living on the streets. His heart breaks when he sees little children grow up in a slum with little hope for the future. Jesus weeps over the crime in our cities, where gangs ruthlessly rule with fear and intimidation. His heart is broken by the sins of the city – the filth, the evil, and the oppression. Many churches have pulled out of the downtown areas and fled to the suburbs allowing the heart of the city to become a cesspool of crime and evil. But our church has remained strong and continues to fight for what is right, just, and good in the heart of the city. I believe that Jesus still weeps over the city.
When Jesus went to Jerusalem he did so because it was God’s will. Jesus was a person who dealt with reality, and not with illusions. On one occasion Peter objected and tried to prevent Jesus from going but Jesus emphatically stated that he must go, that it was God’s will for him to do so. Jesus was convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was God’s will for him to go. He also knew that his death would be overcome by the resurrection. Jerusalem was to be the site of man’s salvation. All of history moved toward this crucial moment of reconciliation. Jesus could have turned away from Jerusalem and gone back to Nazareth and lived in a safe comfortable position as a teacher or carpenter. But he would not have been the savior of the world. Many Christians are troubled because they have turned away from their Jerusalem’s, for which they were born. Compromise, convenience, conditional discipleship had destroyed their commitment to do God’s will and instead have chosen to do their own.
We too have our own personal Jerusalem’s – a person, a problem, or perplexity we would rather not face. Like Jesus, there is something or someone that we would rather not deal with or face. It would be very difficult if not impossible to confront. The risen Lord comes along and says to us, “I will go with you to your Jerusalem. We will go through it together as I faced mine so many years ago.”
Our Lord faced his Jerusalem with courage, confidence and with supreme trust in his heavenly Father. When we encounter our personal Jerusalem’s we must do exactly the same thing. Who or what is your Jerusalem? How are you facing it at this moment? Rest assured that the God of restoration and resurrection will give you the power to be victorious now as well as in the hereafter.
See you Sunday in church!