But as they came closer to Jerusalem and Jesus saw the city ahead, he began to cry. “I wish that even today you would find the way of peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from you. (Luke 19:41-42 NLT)
The throng grew in size and intensity as they approached the city through the Kedron valley. As Jesus looked upon the city with its multitudes, he began to weep. Why was he so grieved that it brought him to tears? His heart was broken because so many of his people had closed their eyes to the truth of his mission, and who he really was. They saw him only as a prophet and potential savior from political bondage to the Roman government. Their eyes were blinded to the true reason for his coming – the promised Messiah who would sacrifice his life in payment for their sins.
The shouts of “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David; hosanna in the highest!” (Mark 11:9-10) sounded hollow in lieu of the fact that this same crowd only a few hours later would be shouting out, “Crucify him, crucify him,” and “let his blood be upon us and our offspring.” Because of the hardness of their hearts and refusal to acknowledge their Messiah redeemer, divine judgment would engulf them with a fury unparalleled in human history. (Matt. 24:21)
There was a mixed reaction to the Savior’s procession toward Jerusalem. The vast majority shouted adulations of praise only to change their sentiments a short time later.
During Passover week all kinds of emotions were displayed both on the part of the people and those of the disciples closest to Jesus. It was a time of deep sadness and fear as Jesus revealed his coming arrest in the Upper Room, his prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, betrayal and arrest along with the illegal trial and execution.
When arrested the disciples fled in fear, Peter denied his lord and swore he never knew him, Judas betrayed him and then hanged himself, the people mocked him, the soldiers struck and spite upon him, and cast lots for his garments.
In spite of all this sadness, there was joy as well. Simon the Cyrene would find salvation as he looked deep into the eyes of Jesus and carried his cross. He never could get away from those “eyes.” The one thief on the cross adjoining Jesus would join him in paradise, Mary would get a new son in John, Thomas would later claim him as his Lord and his God, Peter would be restored, and all who believe on him from that day forward would receive the free gift of salvation. (Eph. 2:8.9)