As Jesus approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 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.”
Luke 19 v.21
I wonder if there are any ‘if onlys’ in your life that were very poignant at the time and perhaps others which still stay with you to this day. Things that perhaps affected the way your life has gone. That spoiled special relationships. That hurt other people. Clearly the list is infinite and different for ever person. Such ‘if onlys’ may well have caused you to weep at the time and may still do so.
Jesus wept over Jerusalem because the Jews had been frequent recipients of God’s words through the prophets, and the work of God for them, to which, if they had listened, they would now have peace.
Further because they did not recognise these things they failed to recognise the coming of God to them. (v.21)
This is a tragic reflection on the nation who owed everything to God and especially as they gathered to celebrate the Passover recalling that great act of deliverance. Jesus knew what was ahead of him in the coming week and he surely knew that many of those shouting their greetings, actually failed to understand that he, Jesus, was God coming to them.
Yes, they cheered for a king, but they were looking for a warrior king who would free them as a nation from Roman rule. Whereas Jesus was coming as a righteous king, having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey (Zechariah 9 v.9)
Don’t be misled by the description ‘gentle’ but see it in context
A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
Mathew 12 v.20
There is gentleness! But it is only for so long. ‘Until he has brought justice through victory.’
We see a glimpse of this as he drives the traders out of the Temple Luke 19 v.45-46 but I wonder if that all seems far removed from where we are today. In one sense it is, but it carries a strong warning if we will recognise it, and what Jesus says as he weeps for the city shows just how crucial is this act of recognition.
I don’t think it is going too far to suggest that Jesus weeps over the world of the 21st century. We have pushed him out to the periphery of our lives, indeed for many, out of our lives completely and we take no heed of his words which do not change. The people Jesus addressed as he came to Jerusalem on that Palm Sunday did not recognise the time of God coming to them and the consequence was the destruction of the Temple by the Romans. I wonder how many said ‘if only’?
Jesus is coming again and for those who do not recognise his first coming – his death and resurrection – that second coming will result in permanent separation from God for eternity. The Bible calls it simply and horribly ‘Hell’!
The should prompt us to consider this question, ‘At that day will I say “if only”’?
This Holy Week, culminates in Jesus’ death on Calvary and his Resurrection, meaning that we can know forgiveness. It is therefore a great time to ensure that you will not regret or have to say “if only” on that day, as you have the opportunity today to acknowledge him as Saviour and Lord.
If you would like to speak to someone about these things please contact us confidentially through our website – www.cricciethfamilychurch.org.uk and we would love to help you find the peace which was hidden from the people in Jerusalem but is available still and can be known today.