Yesterday there was a parade. Today there are tears. Yesterday there was a celebration. Today there is frustration. Yesterday he was their king. Today he is feeling the affects of being their God. The events of Monday – Wednesday of Holy Week, are not clearly defined by date or time, only that they happened – but this does not reduce their importance. In his version of the story, Luke tells us something that most of the other Gospel writers do not. He speaks to us about what I imagine to be an immensely personal and difficult experience, where Jesus, presumably alone, reaches a hill where he can overlook Jerusalem, and feeling the weight of what has already happened (the triumphal entry) and what is going to happen – he weeps.
Luke 19:41–44 (ESV)
And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
He is feeling the depth of human depravity. He is seeing the eventuality of our failure to follow Him, and is overcome by the idea of having to carry the weight of it all. He is aware of their future – our future – and wishes we were all as concerned about it as He is. His compassion and character are combining in a display of raw, authentic and unplanned emotion – and it is a tragic and yet beautiful thing.
Many would say that this is proof of Jesus’ manhood. He is showing that He has human emotion and feels the pain that we have all experienced. I think that is true. But I think to believe that is ONLY that would be a mistake. It would be short-changing God. Because I believe in this moment, Jesus was also expressing the very true and real love of God for His people, and displaying the disappointment over having this situation happen, and many not realize it’s gravity. This moment is one of the few where we can see the “fully God” AND “fully man” versions of Jesus in perfect symbiosis.
One thing is for sure – it is happening now. There is no turning back. The events and eventualities of this week have been set in motion, and there is only one way it will end. Today marks the first moments of Jesus facing that reality in the place where it will all become one. Yesterday there was dancing. Today there is despair. Soon, there will be death.
He is crying because He cares. He has tears, because He suffers in sorrow. Sometimes when you love someone enough, and you see the pain and agony that is coming their way, there is nothing you can do but let it all out. Sometimes, you just have to weep.