Summary: There is no doubt at all that Palm Sunday was one of the most emotion filled days of history. Jesus wept on other occasions, but his tears here say something different.
Little Bobbie listened with deep interest to the story of the
Prodigal Son right up to the happy ending when the son
returned; the fatted calf was killed, and the house was filled
with music and dancing. Then he suddenly burst into tears.
"Why what is the matter Bobbie?" exclaimed his mother.
"I'm so sorry for that poor little calf," he sobbed. "He didn't
do nuffin!" Here was a case where the expected emotion was
to be joy, but the tender-hearted boy responded with
unexpected sorrow, for he saw an aspect of tragedy in the
story that no one else even considered.
This same thing happened on the first Palm Sunday when
Jesus promoted the biggest demonstration of his earthly life.
There was so much emotion kindled in Jerusalem that day
that it could probably be called the most emotional day of
history. It would be hard to find another day to equal it.
Emotion was at such a high pitch that the people
spontaneously threw their garments and palm branches
before the king upon the colt. They lifted up their voices in a
chorus of praise. They shouted with loud voices, "Blessed be
the king that cometh in the name of the Lord." There was so
much noise the sophisticated Pharisees were getting
headaches. They were thoroughly disgusted with this
exhibition of emotionalism, and they urged Jesus to put the
damper on these flaming emotions.
It would have been futile, however, even to try. Jesus said
if he did manage to get them to hold their tongues the noise
would not be diminished, for the very stones would
immediately take up the shouting where they left off. The air
was so charged with the excitement and joy of what was
taking place that nothing, just nothing, could stop it. This
dramatic and climactic expression of joy and praise had to
be. Jesus was the King of Israel, and his triumphant entry
into the capital city was a necessity in the plan of God. Here
was music that had to be heard. Palm Sunday was no
luxury, it was a necessity in God's plan. Vaughn wrote,
Hark! How the children shrill and high
Their joys provoke the distant sky
Where thrones and Seraphim reply;
And their own angels shine and sing
In a bright ring;
Such sound, sweet mirth
Makes heaven and earth
Join in a joyful symphony.
While all heaven and earth are joining in this joyful
symphony, however, the King whose triumphal entry has
produced this unparalleled emotion seems to be adding a
note of contrasting discord. Like the boy listening to the
joyful conclusion of the story of the Prodigal, Jesus seems to
see something that no one else does. His ears hear the music
triumphant, but his eyes have focused on the tragic, and the
result is what we see in verse 41, a King in tears. Amidst all
this joyful shouting, the King for whom they shout, weeps.
Make no mistake about it, these are not tears of joy. These
are not the tears of a Miss America walking out into a crowd
of cheering subjects. These are not the tears of excitement
and surprised joy.
These tears of the King were tears of sorrow from the
very depths of his being. They were in absolute contrast to
the joyful emotions being displayed all around him. Palm
Sunday provides us with abundant material for the study of
contrasting emotions. People were keyed up to near fanatical
enthusiasm, and in contrast you have the utterly disgusted
Pharisees looking on. Jesus, who gave rise to both of these
emotions by his actions, also displays duel emotions.
Weeping in tender-hearted sorrow, and then a few moments
later expressing anger with an intensity of indignation that
had such moral force that men fled in fear before him.
There is no doubt at all that Palm Sunday was one of the
most emotion filled days of history. Jesus wept on other
occasions, but his tears here say something different. Jesus
wept at the tomb of Lazarus, and revealed his sympathetic
understanding of what people must endure in facing the
tragedies of life. Jesus wept in the Garden of Gethsemane
and revealed his own full humanity. He was not merely
playing a role. He actually bore the burden of suffering
humanity. Jesus sweat drops of blood. He learned from
personal experience what it is like to bear a crushing burden.
There is a great deal being written today about the
psychosomatic. Psycho meaning mind, and soma meaning
body. When a man suffers in body because of a mental or
emotional burden it is called a psychosomatic illness. This is
a modern term, but the experience is as old as man, and
Jesus experienced it in Gethsemane. His sweating drops of