Jesus Weeps at the Parade
April 5, 2020
I don’t know about you, but I’m not much of a parade guy. Debbie likes them, I don’t! Debbie likes the New Year’s Day and Thanksgiving Day parades.
For me, they move to slowly, last too long and interfere with the food I want to eat and pregame football. Of course, I didn’t mind the Alexandria parades, because they aren’t long and they throw candy your way.
So, to be honest, I’m not sure how I would have felt about the parade that occurred on the first Palm Sunday. I mean, what if you were on your way somewhere and traffic came to a stand still? Seriously, doesn’t it drive you crazy when you get stuck by an Alexandria train!? Especially the same train - at two different places?!!
We don’t like to be inconvenienced. When a parade starts up - streets are blocked and traffic gets backed up. And this one wasn’t on the calendar. It wasn’t mapped out, so that may be more of a problem. Nobody knew it was coming.
With that in mind, let me read to you the story from Matthew 21:1-11 --
1 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples,
2 saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me.
3 If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.”
6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them.
7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them.
8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
9 And the crowds that went before Him and that followed Him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!
10 And when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?”
11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”
That’s such a great story! Jesus was riding into town, the people were screaming and celebrating. They believed Jesus was the Savior. They were shouting for Jesus to save them. Save them from what though . . . . is another question?
Now, before we move on, I want to go back to one verse that can be really, really confusing to many people. It’s verse 7. In that verse, Matthew wrote -
7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them.
Matthew tells us there were 2 animals. It would have been the mother and colt. Having the mother donkey walk alongside her unbroken colt would be the best way to keep calm it during the noisy entrance to the city. And when Matthew says Jesus sat on them . . . he’s not referring to the donkey’s, but to the cloaks the disciples put on the donkey.
Remember this was the beginning of the Passover celebration and it was a time of great celebration for the Jewish people because of the miracles God performed to free the people out of slavery from Egypt.
Can you imagine some of the people in the crowd that day? There would be Mary and Martha and the newly revived Lazarus. Bartimaeus, the man who was blind, but now could see. Maybe Zacchaeus made the trip. What about the lepers who were now clean and gave thanks to Jesus. Maybe Jairus’ daughter, whom Jesus brought back to life. Or the mom and her son from Nain, whom Jesus brought back to life. The centurion and his guard who Jesus healed. Or the woman caught in adultery, now freed. The woman at the well. And there would be the women, led by Mary Magdalene; and so many more followers and curiosity seekers who wanted a glimpse of Jesus.
It was a great moment . . . YET Jesus knew the bigger story. He understood more about what was going on. There were always the dissenters, but more than that, something was missing.
As Jesus listened to their “Hosannas” and the disciples celebrated the joy of the day . . . Jesus knew those happy voices would turn into cries of “Crucify Him!”
After the parade, Jesus was descending along the road from the Mt. of Olives and stopped walking. Maybe He was going to say something. Maybe someone touched His garment and were healed. Something was happening and the look on Jesus’ face said it all. The smile and laughter were gone. There was a look of pain - sorrow and tears. Jesus was weeping.
In Luke 19:41-44, Luke tells us what was happening --
41 And when Jesus drew near and saw the city, He wept over it,
42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.
43 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
44 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.”
On what seemed like a great day - - here’s Jesus weeping over the city. After 3 years of teaching and preaching and healing; they still didn’t get it. Jesus knew it, He understood what was happening and what was going to happen. And the thought of not only the present reality, but the future reality of how many people would actually reject Him - - well, it just broke Jesus’ heart.
Jesus recognized the prophecy repeated in the Bible - -
21Hear this, O foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear. - Jeremiah 5:21
2 “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, which has eyes to see but does not see, and ears to hear but does not hear; for they are a rebellious house. - Ezekiel 12:2
We see this same passage in Isaiah 6 as well. These are poignant reminders of the inability for the people to really see who Jesus was - - even in their midst.
This broke Jesus’ heart! Yes, Jesus had fully human emotions and He wept over us. One of the beauties of Jesus is the fact that He showed this emotion.
Listen to what Jesus said in Matthew 13 - -
15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.’ - Matthew 13:15
You see, Jesus was about to enter into Jerusalem, it was busy and bustling with activity. It was time to celebrate Passover. Jerusalem was the center of the Jewish faith. Everyone would be there. And think about it . . . most of them wouldn’t even know God was right there in their midst. And do you see those last words in verse 15? Jesus came to bring healing to the people!
Yet, He would walk down the streets and teach in the Temple, and they wouldn’t know He was there. They would go through their daily activities and not know how close God was to them. That broke His heart.
They missed it! They missed the message of God - - the physical presence of God.
They were expecting this great king. This man who would lead the nation to their greatest moment as they would go to war and defeat their Roman oppressors. They would gain freedom and Israel would once again be a great military and economic power.
That was not who Jesus was! Because they didn’t understand Jesus, because they completely misunderstood His mission — Jesus wept over them. Within 1 week He would be gone.
So, as we look at this story about Jesus riding into town — The Messiah was riding through the streets of Jerusalem. The Redeemer, the Savior of the world could be touched, could give you His autograph … and they missed Him! Like so many of us, they wanted God on their terms.
They wanted a sword; they got a suffering Savior. They wanted a ruler; God sent a servant. They wanted a King with a throne and crown, they got a king, but with a crown of thorns, hanging on a cross. He came to liberate their souls, not their cities!
He came to deliver them from the eternal punishment of sin, not from a temporary earthly dictator! To conquer death, hell and the grave and to defeat the armies of the Kingdom of Darkness, not to destroy the Roman Empire.
Let me tell you this - prepare your heart for what I’m about to tell you . . . lean in towards your TV because I’m going to whisper this. Because you need your eyes open to see and your ears wide open to hear. Are you ready?
Don’t miss Jesus! He is so close.
We are living in a new reality right now. We can’t gather together, we can’t worship together. We feel confined, maybe even feel trapped in our own homes. We’re trying to do all of the right things to not get sick.
Is there a chance that the church can shine? Is there a chance - - is there a way that we can help the world see Jesus in a new way. Can we help the world, even our neighbors see Jesus in us?
Jesus wept over Jerusalem. WHY? Because He was in their midst and they missed Him. Friends, Jesus is in our midst right now. Whether we’re going through good or tough times, Jesus is with us. He’s here! He is so close . . . but will we miss Him too . . . will He weep over us?
Is Jesus weeping over Alexandria? Does He cry out “O Alexandria! O Alexandria! Elwood, Summitville, Eaton, Muncie, Westfield, Anderson, Fairmount, Chesterfield, Tipton, Kokomo
If you, even you, had known, trusted, believed in me. Then on this day you would have peace.
After we end our worship this morning . . . ask yourself if you’ve missed Jesus! Has He walked into the room, but you’ve missed Him. He comes offering complete forgiveness to all who embrace Him. He offers Himself to you.
Have you made Jesus - - King of Kings and Lord of Lords in your heart?
Maybe you’ve let go of Jesus and moved through life on your own? You know Jesus, you professed faith in Jesus, but you’re doing life on your terms. Now would be a great time to come back to Jesus! Wouldn’t it?
Remember this . . . Jesus is close by, oh can’t you hear Him . . . calling for you. Yes, you, His child. He rode into Jerusalem on that great day . . . looking for you, wanting to catch your smile. He’s looking . . . waiting . . . for you . . .
He’s so close . . . He’s promised to stay close, to be with you . . . always. That’s His gift to you and I this day!