We are in the midst of Holy Week. The week that Christians around the world observe to remember and celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
This past Sunday, many of our churches may have highlighted Jesus’ triumphal entry. That moment in history when he made his final pilgrimage to Jerusalem, humbly riding on the back of a donkey. As he did, many of the people along the route, spontaneously threw down palm branches and cried: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
I am well acquainted with this part of the story. But yesterday, as I was reading my Bible, something less familiar jumped out at me. It comes right after Jesus has passed through the crowds and is approaching Jerusalem. As he looks down over the city- knowing what will ultimately transpire in the coming days – he begins to weep. Not for himself, but for the people who will ultimately reject him and his gift of Salvation.
The gospel of Luke records Jesus’ words: “If you, even you, had only known on this day, what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes. 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. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” (Luke 19:41-44)
As I looked deeper into this passage, I learned that the word “wept” in Greek means far more than just shedding a couple of tears. It suggests extreme grief. Wailing and lamenting, a soul in agony. Jesus gives us a poignant picture of God’s broken heart over a lost (and in many cases) unrepentant human race.
As he looked down at Jerusalem, Jesus knew in his heart that many would refuse to believe in him. In doing so, they not only forfeited their peace, but also would face judgement.
But that didn’t stop him from making the ultimate sacrifice.
Jesus was willing to face an excruciatingly painful death by crucifixion. A death that he didn’t deserve, so he could make a way for lost and sinful people (like you and me) to find their way home. His death and resurrection opened wide the gates of heaven, for those who would choose to put their trust in him.
What struck me as I was reading this passage of scripture was this thought-
Do I weep over my lost city? Am I grieved in my soul over the fact that there are people all around me who don’t know the extravagant love and grace and peace that Jesus could bring them?
If not… then I am not in tune with the heart of my Savior.
Friends, it is Holy Week. It is a time to reflect and remember and celebrate what Jesus has done for us. But in the midst of our rituals and traditions and festivities, let us not forget the people who don’t know the story or haven’t had the opportunity to embrace it… yet.
I hope that throughout the rest of this week, we won’t just decide to share an Easter meme or invite our Facebook friends to our virtual Easter Services. But may we also earnestly seek to align our hearts with the heart of the Savior. And may we spend some sincere time on our knees in prayer on behalf of those who haven’t yet believed.