The praises and palm branches of Palm Sunday’s crowd when Jesus entered Jerusalem are remembered at this time of the year ... but most forget the tears He shed over what the citizens of that sacred city would face in the years ahead.
Jerusalem means “city of peace,” but the history of that embattled city is a story of war and destruction. Today it is the location of the most volatile political, religious, economic and military problem on the planet … so the tears continue.
A Newsweek reader living in Israel once wrote to the editor describing the climate of fear in his homeland at that time: “Fear masters everything,” he wrote: “when you walk down the street you inspect everyone you pass with, as we say in Hebrew, seven eyes.”
No wonder Jesus wept.
Fear is a miserable master and to some degree this enemy stalks us all wherever we live, bringing depression, stifling ability, draining energy, diminishing courage and robbing life of adventure and success.
When fear is in control, we are constantly scanning the landscape in search of anything that might harm us. Familiar sights and sounds become sentinels that continually warn us of possible impending disasters, keeping us ever on high alert. Even a ringing phone can be an alarm signal causing us to dread what unwelcome words may dwell at the bell.
What breaks fear’s bondage?
Faith in Palm Sunday’s weeping one, who said, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Fear and faith are opposites.
And faith always enlists prayer to summon its faithful protector.
The tears of Jesus on Palm Sunday, as he descended into Jerusalem, revealed His love for those who faced terrible things in their future. Ahead lay his betrayal by Judas, a mock trial by spineless Pilate and the crucifixion. Yet His tears that day were not for himself but for other suffering ones.
Our Lord was ever concerned about the pain and suffering of others. His first prayer from the cross was for the forgiveness of his tormentors. And even in that place of humiliation and suffering He took time to minister to a dying thief, assuring him of heaven.
Imagine the fearful thoughts of that repentant robber hanging beside his—and our—Savior: “Only a week ago this Jesus was heralded as a King, a Deliverer. Now He looks far from royal, anything but powerful. And yet … He forgives like a king, with authority clothed in compassion. Can He assure me of forgiveness? Do I dare ask Him, trust Him? Why not? What do I have to lose?”
“Lord, remember me when you come into Your Kingdom.”
And faith was born. Trust was affirmed.
Jesus said, “Assuredly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
Are you so occupied with your own problems that you lack compassion for others?
Remember Palm Sunday’s tears. And our Deliverer from whose eyes they fell.
Roger Campbell was an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years. An anthology containing over one hundred of his best columns, “Everywhere You Go There’s a Zacchaeus Up a Tree,” is now available at your local or online bookseller. Contact us at email@example.com. or on Facebook @yourfaithadventure.