Sunday, April 13, 2014

Triumph and Tragedy

Luke 19:28-44

For me, Palm Sunday was always the triumphal entry. It was the beautiful sunny day before the storm.

As I read Luke account again today, clearly I was mistaken. Although the disciples were rejoicing and praising God with shouts of "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord," the Pharisees are quick criticize them. "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples," they called to Jesus. Later these men  would orchestrate Jesus' arrest, trial and crucifixion,  So angry and intent on getting Jesus out of the way, they would later answer Pilate's taunt: "Shall I crucify your King?" with their reply, "We have no king but Caesar!" (John 19:16)  

Clearly the Pharisees were not hailing Jesus as King.

The disciples also were confused regarding exactly what Jesus was talking about. They shouted, "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest," but peace and glory would not come next.  Suffering and death were first.  The peace and glory would be accomplished by Jesus' death. Later it would spread throughout the world by leading to their own martyrs deaths. Eventually even the city would be destroyed. 

Triumph and peace, although ultimately certain, would not be the immediate result of Jesus' entry into the holy city.  Do not be mistaken. The triumph came through His suffering.  The true tragedy came because some remained blind to the miracle.

Luke records Jesus' weeping as He enters the city. I think of the birthday boy that ends up in tears at his own party. But for Jesus, here He is not sorrowful for selfish reasons, as He considers His agony and death.  No, instead, He wept for His beloved city, that would be physically present for this cataclysmic event, but spiritually blind and unable to see it.

Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

His visitation. They were right there and they missed it.

Like Easter this year.  It's all around us: pink fluffy rabbits, cute yellow chicks, chocolate eggs all in frilly baskets. It says Happy Easter, like it is a celebration of the season of Spring. But it is not. It is a Holy Day, a remembrance of the most important event in the history of man.  And they sit and color eggs and eat dinners with family. But they miss it.  They are right there and they miss the visitation.

Like Jesus, I want to weep.  

Jesus, still You went into the city and tried to tell them.  You tried to woo and win each person You touched, each person within the sound of Your voice. Even though You could not convince all of them, You still told all of them. You wept but did not despair. You did not give up.

Beloved, You know how bad I am at this, what a klutzy coward I am! You did not win all either, that is why You wept. Help me to have the wisdom to know what to say, how to love them and the courage to do it. And for the times it fails, remind me that Your tears mingle with my own.  

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