In the early 1800s, Napoleon and his army were moving through Switzerland. Everywhere they went, Napoleon was greeted with loud applause: “Long live the king! Hail to the Emperor Napoleon!” But Napoleon didn’t seem too excited about what was going on so a supporter asked him: “Isn’t it great to hear the roar of the crowd, the support of the people?”
Napoleon replied: “The same people that are cheering for me today would cheer just as loudly at my execution.”
Napoleon was saying that people are not reliable; they are always changing from one day to the next. One day they love you. The next day they hate you.
Perhaps Napoleon was remembering Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. “When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen. ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.’ As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it.” (Luke 19:37-38, 41)
While people rejoiced, Jesus wept. Why? Because the Messiah, Christ, had come to bring salvation, but He wasn’t what they wanted so they rejected Him.
Jesus did not weep for Himself, but because He saw their awful future. Let’s look at the purpose of His coming to earth and His final journey to Jerusalem. This was His journey to the cross. His time had come and Daniel’s prophecy would be fulfilled. “Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes.” (Daniel 9:25)
Jesus needed transportation, so He sent His disciples to borrow a donkey. When the disciples were asked why they were taking the donkey, the answer was: “The Lord needs it.”
Jesus, the Messiah—God—needed a donkey? What kind of an image would that be? The King must ride a horse or a chariot.
God’s great plan of redemption was right on schedule. Calvary and the cross were always in God’s plans, not an afterthought. Jesus was coming to Jerusalem to die on the cross to pay the price for the salvation of those who believe Him and repent from their sins.
The Prophet Isaiah had described this journey to the cross about 700 years before it happened. Isaiah 7:14 tells of the virgin birth. “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
Isaiah 53:3 foretells Jesus’ rejection by men. “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
Isaiah 53:5 predicts Jesus’ death. . “But he was pierced for our transgression, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
Jesus went to Jerusalem to die for sinners. His love brought Him to this earth. His love brought Him to Jerusalem and His arrival would lead Him to the Cross.
With awesome compassion, Jesus looked at the city, and wept over it, mourning the people’s coming sorrows. Jesus wept because they did not recognize the time of their salvation, they missed their day of His visitation.
What about today? What about us?
Pastor Joseph Hovsepian