What a season to be living in this world! Who would have thought that the world would be so different four short months ago.
This Sunday we remember Palm Sunday and a week that began like any other week, but within seven days the world was completely changed forever.
In Luke 19, we read the account of the disciples who “stole” a colt for Jesus. Not only did Jesus know exactly what was going to happen, he even tells them the conversation that they were about to have with the owner of the colt.
But I know that the colt recognized his creator, and the reason for his existence. Jesus the creator God put all the pieces together for this moment. Jesus grew the thorn tree that was used to make his crown, and he nurtured the tree that was used to make his cross. Jesus had prepared for this moment.
If Jesus knew that a donkey was waiting for him in the next town, he certainly knows what’s down the road for you and me. Jesus knows how this global pandemic is going to play out. Jesus knows how you are going to be provided for. Though Satan would have us believe otherwise, living by Jesus’ words will never send you on a fool’s errand.
We as followers of Jesus can take tremendous encouragement in this. Do not let doubt and fear paralyze you today.
As the crowd saw what is happening, their excitement began to boil over. Some of them had probably memorized the prophet Zechariah and what was prophesied in Zechariah 9:9.
Can you imagine the excitement? They were seeing prophecy fulfilled and Jesus was coming to establish his kingdom in Jerusalem. The promised messiah was here, and he was going to throw off the oppressive Roman rulers. But Jesus was focused on a much bigger battle, he was focused on defeating Satan, sin and death.
Jesus was surrounded by a crowd of people praising him, and many of them had been healed and touched by this amazing man. Initially Herod and Pilate did not take him seriously, otherwise they would have sent a garrison of troops to prevent him from entering the city.
The fact that the people were waving palm branches showed that they didn’t grasp who Jesus was, and why he was coming to Jerusalem. Waving palm branches was symbolic of the Maccabean rebellion that took place two generations before, against the Syrian oppressors. They were showing that they expected Jesus to be another warlord who would lead them to overthrow the Romans.
There are many times in our lives when we don’t accurately perceive the moment. We miss what is going on for lack of knowledge, understanding or simply because we have an unmet expectation.
But then the mood shifts, Jesus abruptly stops and bursts into tears.
As Jesus looks at Jerusalem and sees the eager faces of those around him, he was overcome by the awareness of their emptiness. They were empty because they had not heard the truth of his message and they did not understand the true purpose of his coming to earth.
Wherever Jesus looked he found a reason to weep.
As he looked back; he saw a nation that had missed his coming and had wasted its opportunities.
As he looked within the hearts of the people, he saw spiritual blindness and a hardness in their hearts. They had all the signs and the prophets to convince them, yet they still rejected him.
As Jesus looked around, he saw a lot of dead religious activity that was not accomplishing anything. The city was full of people celebrating the Passover but with little understanding of its true meaning.
As Jesus looks at our churches today, he sees a lot of dead religion. People going through the motions with no real knowledge of our savior. People who are content with going to a building once a week, when in fact Jesus offers a relationship and eternal life.
Finally, as Jesus looks ahead, he sees the City of David that was soon about to come under attack and judgment. Jesus knew that in 40 years, the city would be under siege by the Romans, and the total destruction of the city and the Temple, leaving about 600 000 Jews dead.
And all of this because the people did not recognize the time of Jesus’ coming. The tragedy of the national disaster could have been averted. But Jesus knew that judgment must come and that rejection of the Word of God, who is Jesus, ultimately leads to punishment.
But it grieved Jesus because of his great love for the lost, the people he came to save (see John 1:11).
God’s chosen nation did not recognize the messiah when he came into their lives, and because of that Jesus wept and mourned.
Jesus did not simply come to set the nation of Israel free from the Roman oppression. He came to die on a Roman cross, seemingly defeated by Satan. But God’s plan was to raise Jesus from the dead and in so doing, defeat Satan, defeat death, and provide a way for eternal life for all who would place their faith and trust in Jesus.
What about us today? Do we know the season?
We are living in a season that is unprecedented. There are predictions from every corner about the infection rates, death tolls and eventual end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But only God knows the end, and the purpose of this season.
The role of the Body of Christ is extremely significant in this season.
This is the time for the church to rise up boldly and to be a place of prayer, truth and compassion.
How we respond in this season will determine the eternal destination of the people all around us. If we act as people who have no hope, then people will not listen to us when we tell them about our faith in Jesus.
To discern the season, we need to pray and ask God for wisdom and insight.
Through the Holy Spirit we will be able to see this season through spiritual eyes, with the lens (perspective) of Christ.