A time to weep

IMG_4932Perhaps that title seems a little strange for Holy Week, the week preceding the joyous resurrection of Messiah Jesus. But there are three reasons that word "weep" is appropriate. 1. Upon the triumphal entry into Jerusalem on what we celebrate today as Palm Sunday, Jesus wept over Jerusalem.

2. When Peter realized his denial of Jesus (as Jesus predicted he would do) during his trial before the chief priests and Pharisees, Peter wept bitterly.

3. Jesus' followers grieved (and likely wept) at Jesus' crucifixion. We call that Friday "good" and Sunday is full of joy, but that Saturday was black as the darkest night. Jesus had promised to rise again, but they weren't really listening. If they were, they didn't get it.

There was much cause for weeping during this coming commemorative week.

IMG_4709But let's think about that first reason. Why did Jesus weep over Jerusalem on the very day the people wanted to make him king? There is one other recorded instance of Jesus weeping - when he saw the grief of his friends over the death of Lazarus, before he brought the man back to life. Jesus wept over death, over loss of one who was loved.

But this weeping was different.

We sang a song in church today, one we've sung often in the past. In it there is a phrase, "break my heart for what breaks Yours." Do we really know what breaks God's heart? And if we do, does our heart really feel pain enough to weep and grieve over those things?

Jesus wept over Jerusalem because the people weren't paying attention. They didn't get why He came or really who He was. Just like His disciples didn't really believe He would rise again during those dark hours on Saturday, the people of Jerusalem in that day were looking for the wrong kind of savior. They were focused on all the outward things. Rome had them in their grip and they wanted out from under it. Jesus could do miracles. Surely He could send the Romans packing and give Israel their land back. He could even make sure they were healthy, wealthy, and wise. Hadn't He fed them with loaves and fishes? Hadn't He healed their sick? Hadn't He calmed storms? He could oust the enemy and make Israel the great power they once were under Kings David and Solomon - the glory days returned. That's what the prophets said to look for, right?

But they missed the parts where the prophets spoke about exile and how God wanted them to love no other gods. To stop worshiping the things their hands had made. "You shall have no other gods before me." That includes anything we place as more important than Him. Things that steal our peace because we are so focused on them, we have no time for the kind of peace God wants to give. Stop a moment and think about that. What activities, what relationships, what goals rob us of peace with God? Rob us of the peace of God?

Jesus wept because the people missed the reason He came. To bring peace between the broken relationship of God and men. And He knew that He was going to fix it at the cost of His life blood. And most of them still wouldn't understand. But He wanted them to - desperately so.

IMG_4692So He wept, because they would not let Him give them what they needed most.

Do we weep over the things God weeps for? I've been thinking about that this weekend. There are people in my life and people I've known in times past who don't appear to know the Jesus of the Bible. The One who was the Word made Flesh. The One who claimed to be God and yet also the Son of Man. They might know another Jesus - one that fits their vision of him. But they don't appear to be truly at peace with the Savior, Messiah, Creator.

Maybe they once seemed to understand, like the people who threw their coats on the ground in submission to Jesus if He would but be their earthly deliverer. They would make Him king. But when He had a different plan for them, they turned away. They didn't want it.

That kind of heartbreak hurts worse than anything on earth. And I wonder if when we sing that song, "break my heart for what breaks Yours," if we really understand how much that will hurt us at a deeply personal level? How much it will cause us to fall on our knees and plead for mercy, for ourselves, for those things that break God's heart?

Sometimes there is a time to weep.

On the triumphal entry, Palm Sunday, Jesus wept while the people cheered.

Perhaps there is a lesson in that.