Holy Week Blog: Monday
I had it all planned out. This would become one of those days that causes my son Emilio to shout, “Best day ever!” I knew he’d been having a hard time adjusting to all the attention given to his baby sister, so my wife and I arranged for him to have a special day just with Daddy. As soon as Emilio would wake up that Saturday morning, we’d quickly get dressed, and go splurge on dangerously malnutritious chocolate chip pancakes. We’d drive down Route 3 to his favorite place to go crazy, Pump N Jump, and hysterically laugh the day away. If it were warm enough, we’d go searching for crabs at the beach together. Or maybe we’d go see a movie, and sit in the front row like he loves. He’d realize how incredibly special he is to me, and how nothing could ever change that dynamic.
I had it all planned out.
I’ve often wondered why Jesus riding the donkey on the way to Jerusalem is entitled “The Triumphant Entry” by so many. Sure, there was praise. Loud, exuberant praise even. But, I’m not so positive there was worship.
When Emilio woke up that Saturday morning, all he wanted to do was go sit on the couch and watch cartoons. No prompting, promoting, or even pleading could persuade the little boy to pursue the plans I intended. At one point, all he had to do put on his shoes, and we could have been onward to our adventures. To Emilio, however, Daddy’s plans were a Saturday morning annoyance. To him, I was an obstacle in the way of his happiness. I was ruining his day.
We didn’t have a happy ending. I grew more and more frustrated and impatient. Emilio snapped at me, and I snapped at him. I sent him to his room, and I immaturely sulked in mine. To me, as I saw it, Emilio would rather eat fruit snacks in his pajamas than have the time of his life with me. Didn’t he realize that I was doing everything for him? For his pleasure? Why couldn’t he just trust me that I had it all planned out?
From amidst the shouts of “Hosanna!” there were sounds of a deep lament. It is written in the Book of Luke that Jesus wept as the entourage approached the city of Jerusalem. From what I’ve gathered about the word “wept”, this was more of an obvious sobbing rather than a momentary cry. Fully aware of the rejection and murder that awaited him, Jesus, stopped the celebration suddenly. Luke records that,
“When He drew near and saw the city, He wept over it.” (Luke 19:41)
This couldn’t have been more of a contrast to the moments just before. There were unmet expectations in abundance. The crowds expected Jesus to triumphantly march into Jerusalem and overthrow the Roman oppressors. They expected God to give them exactly what they wanted. They shouted praises to the Messiah, who would build His kingdom on Earth. There was anticipation of all the noblest ideals, such as freedom, justice, and peace. Jesus wept over their expectations, not because He couldn’t fulfill them. In fact, these were far too low of an expectation.
The dreams of political revolution couldn’t even begin to compare to the surpassing greatness of redemption. Didn’t they realize that everything He was doing was for their own good? Jesus wept over them, knowing that they merely praised their own misconceptions of Him. To them, as they saw it, the Cross was an obstacle in the way of their happiness.
We really are all just like those crowds. We believe the age-old lie that God doesn’t want us happy. Or that, somehow we know how to plan a more fulfilling life. We choose, like a four-year old child, our own limited perception of what is best for us. We dream too small, and expect too little.
The huge difference in all of this is God’s amazing grace. Jesus over pursues us.
There is no sulking, no frustration on His part. His relentless love conquers our ignorance. The Author of Life writes a story for us that we couldn’t even imagine.
Best day ever