“As he came near and saw the city, Jesus wept over it, saying, ‘If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Indeed, the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side. They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave within you one stone upon another; because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.” (Luke 19:41-44)
That first Palm Sunday must have been day of mixed emotions for Jesus. Amid the celebration and joy, knowing that the day he had spent his life preparing for had come. I wonder if there wasn’t a part of Jesus still hoping against hope that everything would turn out differently . . . Hoping that there would be no arrest, no cross. A wild hope that this day of celebration would usher in a new understanding of God and God’s will for the world. That somehow people would seize the moment and grasp hold of God’s vision for a world filled with justice and equity -where the hungry are fed and the homeless sheltered. A time when the sick would be healed and no child would ever die. It would have been a wild hope, but we know that Jesus expected a cross in Jerusalem with his name on it.
The moment when Jesus looks out over the city of Jerusalem is a pivotal moment of history. Jesus wept and cried out over the city ‘If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” Jesus wept for all choices that had been made and all the choices that would be made. Choices that brought death instead of life – which destroyed instead of built God’s kingdom on earth. Jesus looking, over Jerusalem, could see pain in its future. He grieved for it’s loss and the anguish that lay ahead. Forty years later the city would lay in ruins. Anyone who didn’t flee the city would die in the Roman annihilation of it. The temple would be destroyed with no stone left unturned. All, Jesus said, “Because, they did not recognize the day of God’s visitation.”
Jesus wept for he knew it didn’t have to be that way. Jesus wept for what would be and what could have been. He wept for all of us in our betrayals, for all the times we turn our eyes from God’s truth to go our willful ways. He wept for times when we are swayed by greed and unholy principles. Jesus wept for each time we ignore God’s word, when we choose evil, instead of good, for every time our actions bring hurt to ourselves and the people we love.
Jesus weeps for all the pivotal moments in history when good and evil hang in the balance. When we in our foolishness, stubbornness, prejudice and pride have chosen expediency and our own personal agendas over goodness and truth. Jesus continues to weep saying, “If you – even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace.” Before the parade and palm leaves, Holy Week begins with tears. Jesus weeps, then heads into Jerusalem.