Jesus Wept

Political parties and interest groups around Jesus’ time were probably frustrated at Jesus. The Pharisees that were adamant about making people obey the strict law of Moses were frustrated when they found Jesus, whom they called Rabbi, healing a man with a shriveled hand on a Sabbath day. The Zealots, who believed that Romans occupation over Israel could only be broken by a violent revolution, scratched their heads when they heard Jesus preached: ‘love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you!’ The Sadducees, the elite of the temple, were upset when they found Jesus ruining their business in the temple by overturning the tables of moneychangers and accusing them ‘robbers’ in His Father’s house. 

These parties could not get any endorsement from Jesus for their agenda. Later, before Governor Pilate, Jesus said: “My kingdom is not of this world”. Perhaps that’s why nobody understood his message when he said: “Love your God and love your neighbor as yourself”. Because the language of love was foreign to the ears of His audience at the time. And people were even more puzzled when they saw Jesus demonstrating his love by hanging out with sinners, inviting the strangers for a conversation, healing the unclean people, washing the feet of his disciples… “O boy, this guy broke every law of Moses by his acceptance to every human,” thought the Pharisees and the Sadducees. “What a sissy! We would never drive the Romans out of the city for nothing will ever get done with his message of love,” complained the Zealots. 

Jesus didn’t care. Wherever he went, He kept preaching: love, love, love! People got excited. Maybe He is building new political party, people speculated. Maybe with his message of love, we can be freed from the tyrants that are ruining our lives! Maybe with love he will drive out corrupt religious leaders, puppet local government, and even better, defeat the Roman dictator altogether! But they didn’t get what Jesus really meant with love. The crowd followed Jesus all around. They loved the stories Jesus told, the healing he did, the miraculous bread he gave them, and of course, the insults that Jesus slung at the corrupt religious leaders. They cheered when Jesus launched his sharp words against those hypocrites: “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” Yay! Right on, Jesus! Right on! We love you! We love you! They cheered. 

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the city of kings, riding a donkey, people greeted him with joy, shouting: “Hosanna! Hosanna! Save us! Save us, Savior! Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” The hope arose. “Finally, this man of love is declaring himself to be our new king! Yes, he’s going to save us!” But Jesus was not thrilled by all the noise around him. Instead, He wept…(Luke 19:41). “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings…” (Matthew 23:37) The tears of Jesus were the tears of God when He saw the sorrow of the people whom He loved and how torn apart they were with so many ideologies that were not part of God’s plan. 

About a week after He wept, Jesus was put in front of a lot of people for a public display. The disturbed Pharisees and Sadducees conspired with another political group, the Herodians, to kill Jesus. They incited rumors that reached the ear of Pilate, the Roman Governor, that Jesus was planning to be a king. For the great Roman nation, that news was unacceptable. For there was only one God, one king, one ruler: Caesar alone! So on that darn day, in Pilate’s public courtroom stood Jesus and Barabbas the barbarian, a notorious prisoner who demanded revolution against the Romans. Pilate asked the people: Do you want me to release to you Jesus or Barabbas? Looking at Jesus who was silent like a lamb in a slaughterhouse, the crowd doubted. “This is not the kind of commander that will be able to free us from oppression. This man looks more like a victim than a leader. We don’t want this weak freak who talks love!” The crowd replied to Pilate’s question: “Release Barabbas! Crucify Jesus!” Majority rules! That day democracy crucified love. 

Today, Jesus is still weeping for us who choose violence over love, power over humility, and gods over God. 

Love and prayers, 

Vincent Arishvara 03172016


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