Today, March 24, 2013, is Palm Sunday—the first day of Holy Week. But when Jesus entered Jerusalem the day after the Sabbath, there was no Palm Sunday and no Holy Week. Holy Week is the direct result of the work He did that week culminating in His work on the cross and the empty tomb. That purpose only became apparent in retrospect. Keep in mind, the apostles thought everything was lost that fateful Sunday of the empty tomb. The apparent reason to go to Jerusalem was to observe the Passover. It was the same reason that pilgrims came to Jerusalem from across the known world.
Passover this year begins tomorrow, Monday, March 25, at sundown. For Jews in America—and all the Diaspora—Passover runs to sundown Tuesday, April 2. Passover ends at Sundown Monday, April 1, in Israel. Let’s keep Passover in mind as we follow Jesus and His mission in Jerusalem.
His purpose was not apparent as He entered Jerusalem—except to Him. He knew His time was at hand. He also knew what was ahead just two generations hence for His people and His beloved Jerusalem. Read the account from St Luke 19:41-44 with me:
And when He had come near, He beheld the city and wept over it saying, “If thou had known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which must be for thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee around, and keep thee in on every side. And they shall lay thee even with the ground and thy children within thee; and they shalt not leave in thee one stone upon another, because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.”
Jesus wept for Jerusalem because He knew its pain, a pain that exists until this day with a Dome of the Rock on top one of the holiest sites in creation and rockets fired at God’s people almost daily. But we should weep because of the pain He bore for us. I heard today on the radio that good people get to Heaven. I guess that’s right. I have just not heard of anyone good enough. But because of Him, because of His gift of salvation in His shed blood, I, a sinner, will be in Heaven washed white as snow. Centuries ago, the Negro slaves in America sang, “you can say He died for all.” That is right. I hope you too weep this week because you have accepted His gift of life and you can say, “He died for all.”
Tomorrow: action in the temple.