Jesus Weeps for Us
Luke 19:41-44 (28-44)
Luke 19:41-44 (NIV)
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. 44 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."
The Palm Sunday parade had all the elements of a major network production. A big crowd, lots of wide-eyed children straining for a view, laughter, music, color, waving palm branches, even a horse of sorts, if you will. Jesus, the center of attention, came riding into town on a borrowed donkey, a colt.
- Who doesn’t like a parade? Now a days we watch them on TV and forget about going to the actually parade.
- On Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day we sit in front of our TV sets and watch Macy’s and the Rose Bowl Parade among others, flipping back and forth between the channels.
- We honor our Super Bowl, World Series and World Champion Basketball teams with parades in their home cities.
- We even have a special parade here Richwood with our own Grande Dame.
Wouldn’t it have been neat if there were movie cameras back then so we could see Palm Sunday parade. It would be fabulous we went to Jerusalem and were able to relive the events of that great day.
- How exciting it would be to be a part of the crowd, to walk down that winding road from the Mt. of Olives, past the Garden of Gethsemane, across the Kidron Valley and up through the great Eastern Gate. It would be a parade you would never forget!
- This felt, for many - including the disciples, like Jesus’ "big day." Many in the crowd believed that Jesus was their Messiah and that this parade surely marked the beginning of his reign as their conquering King.
- With Jesus as their king, they were convinced that it was only a matter of time until the trumpets rang out, the call to arms sounded and the Jewish nation would be led to its long delayed victory over Rome and the world. You may think it strange that Jesus chose to ride a donkey for such an occasion, but God never does anything by accident. Some would say he chose this simple beast of burden because He was a man of humility - and that is true. But Jesus chose to ride a donkey in this parade for two very important reasons:
- First, to fulfill prophecy about the Messiah. Both Matthew and John, when describing the scene of the Triumphal Entry, quote from Zechariah, the next to last book in the Old Testament.
- Zechariah 9:9 - "Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."
- This passage tells us some things about Jesus and why it was important to have this parade. Notice it says, "See your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation." This parade was announcing plainly to the world that Jesus was the Messiah.
- It would have been impossible for Jesus to stop and speak above the noise of an excited crowd like the one that followed him that day. So Jesus did something that everyone could see.
- He came riding into town on a donkey’s colt in a dramatic fulfillment of the words of the prophet Zechariah. He probably dwarfed the colt.
- The Old Testament prophecy about Jesus’ first coming has been fulfilled to the letter. This was just another example to show us clearly that Jesus was the Messiah.
- The second reason Jesus chose to ride a donkey in the parade was to declare that He was the King. In times of war the conqueror would ride upon a prancing stallion, but in times of peace the king would ride a colt/donkey to symbolize that peace prevailed. Zechariah said that the king would be "gentle and riding upon a donkey."
- Jesus deliberately fulfilled that prophecy to call attention to the fact that He had come, not as a war maker, but as a peacemaker.
- Riding a donkey in the parade made a statement those watching that Jesus was a King. In fact, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords was riding through the streets of the city, but Jesus knew in his heart that this was anything but a victory parade.
- PROPOSITION: For Jesus, "Palm Sunday" did not feel like the joyous occasion we make it out to be today.
- Palm branches were waving, people were shouting "Hosanna!" and Jesus was the center of attention as he rode through the streets. They gave him a hero’s welcome and held an impromptu parade in his honor. Impromptu on the part of the crowd but not for Jesus because He had planned the whole thing including the donkey.
- They treated him like a Super Bowl MVP or World Series hero. But as the parade came to an abrupt end, about the time when they should have been presenting him with a trophy and playing "One Shining Moment" over the public address system, Jesus, the hero of the day, began to weep.
- There was no trophy, no victorious speech, and no championship ring presentation. Just a weeping hero who stunned the crowd and put a damper on the whole festive atmosphere.
- INTERROGATIVE QUESTION: Why was Jesus crying on the day when he was given a victorious hero’s welcome into the city of Jerusalem? Why, instead of laughter and joy, were there tears running down His face?
1. Scripture tell us that Jesus reacted emotionally many times to things that he saw. When He saw the poor, the hungry, the ill He felt compassion. When He saw people sinning He offered forgiveness. The Bible tells us repeatedly that, "…He had compassion on them."
- But it only tells of two times when Jesus cried. The first was at the grave of Lazarus. John 11:35 - "Jesus wept." Shortest verse in the Bible. He compassionately wept with Mary and Martha, identifying with their sorrow. This was the second occasion. Luke 19:41 - "As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it…"
- THERE ARE THREE LEGITMATE REASONS JESUS WAS WEEPING INSTEAD OF LAUGHING ON PALM SUNDAY
- JESUS WEPT FOR THE CITY - Luke 19:41-44 - "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/visitation to you."
- This is both a spiritual and literal because Jerusalem revolted against Rome in 70 AD and Rome completely destroyed Jerusalem. Rome laid siege to the Jerusalem in a horrible show of power and destruction.
- John said in John 1:11 - "He came unto His own, but His own received Him not." The Prince of Peace was in town! The Messiah was riding through the streets of Jerusalem. The Redeemer, the Savior of the world was touchable by human hand. The Son of God could literally give you His autograph…and they missed Him!
- Like so many of us, we want God on our terms.
- They were expecting a leader; they got a suffering Savior.
- They ordered a ruler; God sent a servant.
- They wanted a King and a throne and a crown, they got a dead carpenter’s son hanging naked on a cross.
- They didn’t understand! He had come to liberate their souls, not their cities! To deliver them from the eternal punishment of sin, not from a temporary earthly dictator! To conquer death, hell and the grave and to defeat the armies of the Kingdom of Darkness, not to destroy the Roman Empire.
- Like so many of our cities today, they were living for the here and now and Jesus was trying to impact eternity. And so he wept for them saying, "If you only knew! Things could have been so different. You are headed for destruction and I’m trying to save you. God sent me to you but you did not recognize the day of my visitation." These were God’s chosen people. He had loved them and led them across the wilderness into the Promised Land. But they did not understand or accept the Messiah when he was right their midst. And Jesus wept. He looked out and saw the towering Temple of God silhouetted against the sky. But he could see beyond that to the years immediately ahead when Titus would surround the Holy City. When the temple stones would be taken down and the city leveled. He could see bodies in the streets, blood running in the gutters and thousands of people crying because they are starving to death while Titus waits for Jerusalem to surrender.
- All of that because they didn’t recognize the Messiah when He came! How different their lives could have been! How different the history of Israel could have been if they had only recognized the one who came into town that day, riding on a colt. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem. How often would I have gathered you together as a hen gathers her chicks beneath her wings. But you would not come." - Matthew 23:37. Jesus wept for the city. He is still weeping for our cities today.
- He looks across the world and weeps for Jerusalem, London, Beijing, Paris, Mexico City. He looks across America and weeps for San Francisco, L.A., New York City, Miami, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Charleston, Morgantown, Summersville and even Richwood. He weeps because we gather in our churches on this day to wave palm branches and shout "Hosanna!" but in many ways we have turned our backs on God as a nation. Like Jerusalem, we have our religion, we have our synagogues and mosques and churches on nearly every corner, but we are missing God’s presence in our midst! Jesus looks out over our cities today and sees:
- Daddy at home beating Mommy.
- He sees drug addiction and alcoholism, abortion and sexual abuse.
- He looks out and sees the graves of teenagers who died prematurely at the hands of their own classmates, gunned down at school.
- He sees lives that are torn apart, kids without families, hearts that are empty, suicide, rape, murder, incest, divorce, hatred, pornography.
- He sees it and he weeps. He is ever more a King today than He was on that day, seated even now at the right hand of the Throne of God, but still He weeps. "O Richwood! O Richwood. Our land has been devastated and for the most part it is not a poverty problem, not a drug problem, not government problem, not an education problem. IT IS A SIN PROBLEM AND ONLY JESUS HAS THE CURE! So let every true Christian join him on this day in weeping for our land. Jesus is the only answer.
- SECONDLY, JESUS WEPT FOR HIMSELF. Jesus was both human and divine. God and man. Because He was God, He knew everything that was coming. Because He was man, His decision to go to Jerusalem was one of the most difficult decisions Jesus ever made. He could see the cross before He rode in the parade. He knew He was headed for crucifixion and yet he chose to go ahead with the plan.
- I can’t help but wonder what was going through His mind on this day. How could he smile? Could he have enjoyed that moment at all? Was there by chance a spot along the route from which he could look up and see Golgotha, the place where he would be crucified just a few days later? Were the tears on his face a result of the very human emotion of a man who was about to die?
- He knew what was coming. Like any good Jewish boy, He had studied prophecy, and even more, as God He knew He would be the one to fulfill Isaiah 53: "Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the punishment of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed." (53:4-5)
- Is it any wonder he prayed in the Garden, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; nevertheless, not my will, but Thine be done"? There we are told in Luke 22 that Jesus sweat great drops of blood and Matthew records Jesus as saying, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death." (Matthew 26:38. What Jesus did for us brought tears to His eyes. As God he wept for the city. As man he wept for himself. And as the Savior…
- JESUS WEPT FOR YOU AND FOR ME. For Jesus, there are no "strangers" in the crowd. He picks out each one and knows them by name. He knows their stories. Their history. Their hurt and their pain. He sees what’s in our hearts. I wonder what it was like for Jesus as He looked over the vast crowd that day and saw the mixture of expressions on their faces? Try to imagine those who were there:
- There were those that loved Him.
- Perhaps Bartimaeus was there, the man who had received his sight, no longer in his beggar’s rags.
- How about Zacchaeus? He had paid back his debt to society and made peace with God.
- And the lepers? Their skin had been cleansed and now they were rejoicing for the healing that the Lord had given them.
- Maybe Jairus’ daughter was there, brought back to life after experiencing death,
- As was Lazarus who was there with his sisters Mary and Martha.
- These people and many more reflected the love that was in their hearts for this man who had taught them, molded them and changed them.
- There were also sinister faces there. Faces with squinty eyes, waiting for Him to say one wrong word, to make one mistake. The Pharisees and Sadducees were there. They were supposed to be keepers of the Law. Spiritual leaders. But Jesus had gained so much popularity that they felt threatened. They watched, full of jealousy, with evil intent, looking for an opportunity to kill him.
- The Romans were there, fearing a possible revolt and watching for any signs of rebellion. They were ready and waiting to crush any uprising.
- Jesus realized, as He listened to their "Hosannas!" that soon the sinister voices would drown out the voices of love. That those crying for Him to be King would soon be crying out, "Crucify Him!" or that they would simply stand aside, saying nothing at all. And so as He looked out at the faces in the crowd, Jesus, the hero of the day, stood weeping.
And He still weeps for us today if we do not know Him. He scans the crowd, with the cross now behind Him, offering complete forgiveness to all who will come to Him. "He came unto His own, but His own received Him not, but as many as received Him to them gave He power to become the Sons of God, even to those that believed on His name." - John 1:11-12.
Tell me, what does Jesus see when He looks your way this morning?
- You may have shouted and sang along with the crowd this morning, but in your heart, have you made Jesus King of Kings and Lord of Lords?
- Today, with the cross behind Him and seated at the right hand of God, Jesus no longer weeps for himself, but He still weeps for our country and the world.
- If you’ve not accepted His ultimate sacrifice for you on the cross as the only way of forgiveness from sin, then Jesus weeps for you. The Weeping Hero still sheds tears of compassion because He came for you and you have yet to acknowledge the day of His visitation.
- Your life can be so different. Your home can be so different. Even your death will be so different if you will only make him Lord of your life! Won’t you accept the Weeping Hero this morning?