"I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead." Philippians 3:10-11 (NIV)
The Holy Week is different for me this year. I feel a heaviness...a sense of sharing in the sadness that Jesus felt as he rode into Jerusalem that first Palm Sunday. Dr. Luke gives us added insight in his account in chapter 19, verses 37 and following:
"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!"
"Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"...
As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it...." Luke 19:41a (NIV)
Do you note the contrast in emotions of the disciples and that of Jesus? They are singing and praising and honoring Him. But Jesus sees past the praise. He sees the heart...and He weeps.
Jesus could see the hearts of those who loved Him...as best they could...with their limited understanding of the depths of His love...of what He would soon suffer on their behalf. He could see the hearts of the Pharisees...religious leaders...those who in their pompous ignorance were out to take His life. He could see the hearts of those who "didn't have a clue"...who were swayed toward acceptance or rejection without understanding or conviction of their own, just following the crowd. He looked over the city...the masses, the throngs...and wept.
I wonder if He has relived any of that sadness this week...as He looks over our "city" and sees our feeble attempts at praise...as we go through the motions...or focus on the production. How does He feel about self-serving attitudes of Christians...even those in leadership...arguing over doctrine and denomination and style of worship. And how His heart must break at the multitude of those who are so easily led astray...because of their own choosing...or because they just don't know better...some who have never even heard that there is a Savior.
Can you imagine the sorrow when the president of the USA declares that "We are not a Christian nation."
A couple of lines from songs came to mind this morning:
From the hymn, "Come Thou Fount," the reminder, "Oh, to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be." Oh, what a debt I owe. And His blood was shed to cover the cost.
I long to praise Him properly and whole-heartedly, as "I'm coming back to the heart of worship and it's all about You, It's all about You, Jesus. I'm sorry, Lord, for the thing I've made it, when it's all about You, it's all about You, Jesus." (Michael W. Smith)
I want my heart to be right. I long for Him to look at it and smile...not weep. I want to worship Him and Him alone. I want Him to take my heart "and seal it...seal it for [His] courts above."
I want to be ready to rejoice! Because...He rose! He conquered! He reigns!
Jesus, forgive us. May our hearts overflow with thanks for Your love, Your sacrifice, Your desire to draw us close to You. Help us, Lord to make Your heart glad!