Worldwide, it’s the Passion Week. Something about this week leading up to Easter resonates deeply with the souls of many people. Some may not know even why. Movie producers have provided the film ‘Son of God’ in anticipation of this week. We recognize that there is something otherworldly going on, but we’re not entirely sure what it is. Who is this Jesus? Why can’t people just let His story die?
Following the exultant shouts of Hosanna with which the people welcome Jesus that first Palm Sunday, He continues to climb the path toward Jerusalem. He knows the people are ecstatic today. He rejoices with them. But He knows more than that; He knows the crux of their passion. He knows the soul of their nation and the heart of their city Jerusalem, and it saddens Him. Luke 19:41-44 gives us a glimpse of how Jesus sees the situation as He prepares to enter the apex of His ministry.
“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.”
We’re told Jesus weeps as he says this. He is saddened because the people He has created have been blind to their Creator. He wants them to have real peace—not just freedom from the superficial bondage uppermost in their minds—but freedom from sin’s deadly effects. They refuse to see this though. They refuse to recognize that He, Jesus, is God come to them.
Remember how the prophecy of His birth had given Him the title of Immanuel–God with us? Now, as Jesus prepares for the task that will secure the ransom for all people, He sadly reflects on how few will accept it. Most will reject it. They will not acknowledge their need for that kind of peace. The truest expression of freedom that the hosanna-crying crowd has grasped is merely political. They have failed to understand their own eternal soul.
It’s easier to say ‘they’ than ‘we’, isn’t it? It’s easier to point the finger and be appalled at the foolishness or shallowness of others than to look inward, don’t you think? Maybe Jesus isn’t only talking to the inhabitants of Jerusalem here. Maybe He’s not just weeping at the thought of what they have missed. Maybe He’s weeping over you and me. Maybe He’s looking across the millennia, beyond empires and seeing you and me. He’s got your face and mine in mind as He looks toward the place where He will sacrifice His life to make eternal life available for us. Our souls are foremost in His thoughts as He mourns our self-imposed condition.
Is there any hope for people like us who haven’t recognized real peace when it’s been dropped in their laps?
Yes! A resounding Yes! It’s only a prayer away. Regardless of where we’ve been spiritually, we can begin to recognize the Giver of peace. We are invited to humbly call out His name, “Jesus”. We can ask Him to reveal Himself to our deepest core where we can respond “yes” to His question, “Do you want my peace?”
Easter is happening now. Let’s step up to the most expansive invitation ever offered humankind. Then we will never have to say, “If I had only known…”
(Photo Credit: Son of God film by 20th Century Fox)