Summary: Jerusalem didn’t receive the peace God give - we need to learn from their mistake
Luke 19 Palm Sunday, March 20, 2005
If you had only known what would bring you peace
I am most often drawn to the Luke telling of the Palm Sunday Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. The reason why is this juxtaposition that begins at verse 41. All the people are shouting and praising and excited about Jesus riding into the city, and Jesus, the one that the parade is thrown for is crying! It is like the Santa Claus parade and old Saint Nick is there in his sleigh in tears.
He is crying because He knows that in 5 days, the shouts of “Hosanna!” will turn to “Crucify! Crucify!” The amazing thing is that he is not crying for the pain and rejection that he will endure, he is crying because of what the city’s rejection of him will mean to them.
This is what he says:
“If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
This is not the first time that the people of Jerusalem have missed the peace that God wanted to bring to them. In Isaiah 30, Jerusalem was being threatened by Assyria. Many of the small nations around them had made alliances with Egypt to protect them from Assyria, and people in Jerusalem also wanted to put their trust in Egypt for their protection instead of God.
15 This is what the Sovereign LORD , the Holy One of Israel, says:
"In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.
16 You said, ’No, we will flee on horses.’
Therefore you will flee!
You said, ’We will ride off on swift horses.’
Therefore your pursuers will be swift!
17 A thousand will flee
at the threat of one;
at the threat of five
you will all flee away,
till you are left
like a flagstaff on a mountaintop,
like a banner on a hill."
Jerusalem wanted to trust in Egypt’s horses for their peace – they were the tanks of the day. But God says, it’s only when you trust in me quietly that you will have true peace.
When they got it right, they wrote things like Psalm 20:
6 Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed;
he answers him from his holy heaven
with the saving power of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
8 They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
In Jesus’ time the Romans ran Jerusalem, but there was a certain amount of peace – Pax Romana. As long as no one got out of line, the brute force of Rome was not used. It was an uneasy peace – peace without freedom. But it was a certain peace.
While the Pharisees and other leaders stirred up the crowd against Jesus on Friday because of jealousy, they also did it to keep the peace with Rome. If the Romans thought that this Jesus was going to lead the Jewish people in a revolt against Rome, it could lead to a crack-down and they could lose the peace they had. That is one of the reasons that they tell Jesus to silence his disciples when they are shouting “Hosanna!” - What if the Romans hear?