The Way to Peace
By Pastor Dennis Yim
New Testament Passage: Luke 19: 41-44
41 But as he came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep. 42 “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes. 43 Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you from every side. 44 They will crush you into the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not recognize it when God visited you.”
The church has always celebrated Palm Sunday as Jesus’s Triumphal Entry as if it’s a day of great celebration, a day of no weeping, a day where we can take a pause on the sufferings in the world around us, a day where we’re overjoyed that Jesus has come to make all things right. Those are true; however, this passage soberly reminds us that this Triumphal Entry was really an entry into death, into the cosmic sufferings and brokenness of the world. The Triumphal Entry was not only about Jesus coming to Jerusalem to die for our individual sins so that we may be saved (which is extremely important), but it’s an entry to make all things right – to uphold justice and to bring righteousness in a fallen world.
As Jesus drew near to Jerusalem, the very sight of the holy city turned Him into the weeping Jeremiah-like figure. His tears were a prophetic announcement of the coming destruction of the city because it had failed to see in the ministry of Jesus Christ that the visitation of God was taking place before them. They have denied Him and have become blind, they have refused to see Him as the King of Kings who would not only rule over Israel, but the whole cosmos. He was not like the kings and rulers of this world, He’s a King from a different and greater order from Heaven. But why would Jesus lament? Because He recognized they were imprisoned by the darkness that enslaved their hearts and minds from recognizing His Messianic identity. They needed freedom in His shalom.
Sometimes we forget that the way to shalom was through the cross for the Son of God. Jesus needed to bear the sins of the world and to fight the cosmological battle against the dominion of Darkness so that all would be made right in Him. However, His victory would come in His humiliation and humbleness in His apparent defeat on the cross. When we’re overcome by our troubles, anxieties, and by the elements that we can’t control, look to the cross. Look at the one who once was nailed on it. Look at Jesus who was in tears and moved towards us by embracing the cross so that He may be victorious and bring shalom to us. We have an other-worldly King who has an other-worldly kingdom agenda. He has brought us into His Kingdom so that we may receive shalom in Him, and to freely give shalom to others.
Jesus has entered into our lives so that we may have a Kingly-shalom that allows us to see and embrace the brokenness and chaos in our own lives, in our communities, and in the world. It’s perfectly human to weep for those who are suffering. Why? Because Jesus Christ wept for us. But as we weep for others, may we do what Jesus did for us: move towards those who are suffering, those who are lost, those who are in desperate need for shalom, and be the very beacon of hope, love, and peace that Christ has created you to be.
Reflection and Prayer
Take some time to reflect with your family and friends on how this has challenged your understanding of Jesus’s Triumphal Entry. How does this challenge you to understand the depths of God’s peace in your life? How does this challenge you to be God’s shalomic agent for your community? Take some time to pray for God’s peace in your life, community and in the world. Pray for God’s wisdom and discernment so that you may find creative ways to bring God’s shalom to others in this time of Shelter-in-Place.
O Lord God, grant your peace to us, for you have supplied us with all things – the peace of rest, the peace of the Sabbath which has no evening; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. – Pray for Peace by St. Augustine