As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.”
In this text Jesus is approaching the final week of his life on earth. He has just been welcomed into the Jerusalem and hailed as a king. But he knows what is ahead. He knows the people of Jerusalem-the same people who just shouted “Hosanna!” in his honor-will play a part in his arrest, his trial, his crucifixion. The same crowd who pushed and shoved to see Jesus riding into town on a colt will squeeze into the crowded streets for front row seats at his crucifixion. Yet he wept over them.
If only they had recognized who he was.
If only they had accepted the peace Jesus offered them.
It was as if Jerusalem, the City of Peace, was at war with Jesus, the Prince of Peace. He offered them terms for peace. Peace with him. Peace with God. But they wouldn’t accept his terms. They wouldn’t lay down their arms and surrender to Jesus as their King, their Promised Messiah.
But look around us today. Neighbors, co-workers, family members, acquaintances, strangers rushing through our 21st Century American warp-speed lives expecting Jesus to take a number and wait in line for us to accept him. On our terms. At our convenience.
Jesus offered the people of Jerusalem his unfathomable peace-peace with God and peace within themselves. But they wouldn’t accept his terms. They thought they could come to God their own way. Until it was too late. Until they were so blinded by their own refusal that the peace of God was totally hidden from their eyes.
Many things have changed since that day in Jerusalem, but Jesus hasn’t. He still weeps over people chasing after things we think will bring us peace:
Family, financial security, education. Ecological responsibility, bigger, better, faster stuff, sexual “freedom.” Fame, beauty, and power. Like kids chasing soap bubbles we rush round and round snatching at whatever we think will bring us peace.
If only we could recognize who he is.
If only we could accept the peace Jesus offers.
Before it’s too late. Before it is forever hidden from our eyes.
Lord, open the eyes of those who have not yet surrendered their lives to Jesus. Help them to accept your terms for peace and eternal life.