As he [Jesus] 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.” Luke 19:41-42 (NIV)
Lord Jesus, long before the Day you’ll wipe away our tears, you wept many of your own. You grieve the way we look for peace in all the wrong places.
The tears you shed coming into an externally religious, internally unbelieving, Jerusalem, underscore the mercy and magnificence of these words from the Apostle Paul:
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:6-8).
Jesus, Paul was writing about us, in this Scripture. We count ourselves among the powerless, self-seeking sinners for whom you gave your life. We weren’t impassioned seekers or misguided “good” people. We were self-centered rebels, and indifferent malcontents, when we received the free gift of eternal life (Rom. 5:10).
The only reason we have peace with God is because our heavenly Father made peace with us through you. It wasn’t about us “turning over a new leaf.” We needed to become a whole new tree. We didn’t need a new start; we needed a new heart. We were dead when you gave us life.
We’d still be looking for peace everywhere else—in people and sex, money and power—if you hadn’t opened our eyes to see the depth of our need, and the riches of your grace. Easter celebrates what we could never do for ourselves, you’ve done for us once and for all.
We long for the Day when we won’t even be tempted to look for peace, life, and joy anywhere else but in you, Jesus. Until that Day, we trust you to be our contentment and satisfaction, our righteousness and our inheritance. So very Amen we pray with gratitude and adoration, in your wonderful and merciful name.