Look at Jesus. He is none other than the Second Person of the Godhead. He is the Creator, Sustainer, and Judge of all men. He is the perfect Prophet, Priest, and King. He calls himself the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is the Great Physician. He is the Great I Am. He is David’s Greatest Son, and here he is, getting ready to enter his Holy City.
Look at Jesus. He is one who consistently walks away from crowds wishing to enthrone him, but not on this Sunday. Today, he choreographs his own regal parade. Fulfilling the prophetic utterance of Zechariah, he rides into town on a donkey, amidst the palm branches and praises of his disciples, in the face of his enemies.
Look at Jesus. He is the God-Man. He is fully man. He has the purest of emotions, and he is not afraid to display them. Therefore, in the middle of his parade, Jesus pauses and weeps. Luke records his sentiments:
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. (Luke 19:42-44)
So, why does the Son of God weep? I believe Jesus sees sin and its effects in and upon his countrymen, and it breaks his heart. All his relatives and neighbors, they are consumed and corrupted by sin. They are …
- Spiritually cursed – they are at enmity with God
- Relationally cursed – they are learning to love themselves and hate their neighbors
- Vocationally cursed – they are not at ease in making a living and reproducing disciples
- Environmentally cursed – they dwell on a planet that is deteriorating and increasingly dangerous
- Emotionally cursed – they are lacking in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, contentment, etc ..
- Physically cursed – their bodies are plagued by disability, disease, and death
- Nationally cursed – God is about to “lower the boom” on Israel and Jerusalem
- Eternally cursed – they are in danger of God’s holy judgment and the Lake of Fire
- Generationally cursed – they are passing on their condition and curses to their children
And even now, Jesus is their only hope. He represents the love, mercy, and grace of God. He is their only means of salvation, and they are about to stiff-arm God and slaughter his Beloved Son. This is not right. This is not how it should be. His neighborhood and nation are under the sway of the Evil One, and it breaks his perfectly compassionate heart. And so he cries.
So how ought we to worship on Palm Sunday?
I think we should worship with loud hosannas and hallelujahs. Jesus is the victorious King of Kings. Let’s approach the throne-room of heaven and give him the regal praise he deserves.
I think we should worship with angry tears. Since Christ dwells within, and since we have new hearts with new affections, let us love righteousness and hate Satan, sin, and its consequences. Then, let’s cry a river of tears over our own fallings, our family, our neighbors, and our nation. Look at the pain sin causes those about us. Look at the wrath poured out upon the shoulders of Christ. As Christians, we are not called to be emotionally apathetic. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, let us have hearts full of heavenly anger and eyes full of Christlike tears.
I think we should worship with sacrificial grace. Following his tears, Jesus continues his march into Jerusalem. And why does he do so? He enters the Holy City because it is his mission field. It is in Jerusalem where sin-sick people are found. It is in Jerusalem where sin-sick people are to be covered. It is in the Holy City, his Holy City, that he is going to love, serve, grace, and die. Therefore, let us respond accordingly. Motivated from within, let us serve Christ, our family, our neighbors, and our nation through acts of sacrificial grace. Freshly energized by Christ and his Spirit, let us follow our minds, wills, and emotions and cry out for our neighbors while crying out to our neighbors. This is the logical thing to do by those of us who find ourselves shedding angry tears.