Today we remind ourselves of the solemn entrance of Jesus Christ into the city Jerusalem as recorded in Matthew 21:1-17; Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:29-44, and John 12:12-19.
Yes, this was a truly solemn entrance! Our savior is seated on a donkey like the ancient kings: So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the Kerethites and the Pelethites went down and had Solomon mount King David’s mule, and they escorted him to Gihon. I Kings 1:38)
to fulfill the prophecy of the Prophet Zechariah 9:9:
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King is coming to you;
He is just and having salvation,
Lowly and riding on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.”
The Lord is traveling to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. There are many people came in Jerusalem for the festivities of the Passover, and when they heard that Jesus is coming, they take palm branches and went in the city for reception, and they praise him. There are lots of people going beside him, behind him, and many in front are laying their clothes in the path, on him to pass. Many are cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road, and the crowd walking in front is singing “Hosanna the Son of David, Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the Highest!”
But something is happening, which does not fit with the greatness, the joy of the people, the celebrations of the entrance of a king, the joy of the Lord’s entrance into Jerusalem. Saint Luke the Evangelist tells us in Luke19:41 that as Jesus approached Jerusalem, and saw the city, he wept over it.
Tears! Listen brothers and sisters, the Lord is crying! Lord Jesus Christ is weeping with tears!
He who relieved the tears of many tears of people by a simple command, he whose heart went out to the widow of Nain when she was going to the funeral of her only son, and said ”don’t cry”( Luke7:13), is now crying himself.
What tremendous grief! What tremendous pity! We cannot begin to describe the depths of our Lord’s emotions. Only if our souls somehow could feel what Jesus felt, so that we could cry with him, as the child is weeping for his mother.
Tears- says Saint Augustine of Hippo, are the blood of the soul. They talk of very powerful spiritual feelings, tears of sadness, tears of joy, tears of anger and tears of repentance.
Why would the Lord weep over Jerusalem? Saint Luke the Evangelist explains in Luke 19: 41-44: 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.”
It is clear that the Lords tears are tears of deep unconditional sadness, of unconditional love! Why is the Savior crying? He does not cry for himself, nor for his sacrificial act that must bring to completion, but for the tragic destiny of Jerusalem and its citizens. The Lord has seen the horrific days when enemies will surround the city, will kill the children and destroy the city, and who will leave no stone unturned, something that indeed happened in 70 year AD as described by the historian Joseph Flavian.
Whose guilt will cause the suffering that will come? The citizens of Jerusalem are they for whom the dear Lord weeps. This is made clear for us in Luke19:44, and our Lord weeps because Jerusalem does not recognize that the Lord has come into their midst. The Savior knows that his Grace has been rejected by the city. The Pharisees and people’s leaders don’t care. They are full of evil and envy. And Jesus crying. He saw the betrayal of Jude, the scattering of his disciples, he saw how the most zealous and passionate Peter will deny him, the illegitimacy of the priests and leaders of the Jews, corruption of Pilate, the hesitation of the faith of the people. He saw all the sins, vices, and failings of mankind to the end of the world.
Of course Jesus wept. Out of his great love for us, in his compassion, of course he wept. But not only for Jerusalem. He cried for all of us, for our sins, transgressions, for our bad unChristian life.
The tears of our Lord, brothers and sisters, are calling us to be sanctified, to come back to our Lord with penance and repentance, to new life, to crucify our bodily passions and lusts, to reject our old selves and to become new people. New people in Christ our Lord, (Ephesians 4:22-24: 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.)
As we now conclude the 40 days of Great Lent, in which we have prayed and studied to ready our spiritual selves for the coming of Christ’s resurrection, and to the salvation of our souls, let us cry and weep for our sins. With repentance and tears to wash the spots of sins from our hearts, and with the joy of His forgiveness, let us come to the Lord, shouting and singing to the Lord, “Hosanna in the Highest, Hail to the King!”