I’m fascinated by Luke’s account of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem on Monday, just four days before His crucifixion. As the crowd worshiped Him as a Moses-like liberator who would end their slavery to Rome and lead them to the good life in their land flowing with milk and honey, Jesus burst into tears (Luke 19:28-44).
We know that the Lord’s grief had to do with the coming destruction of Jerusalem (43-44), but it also had to do with the shallow peace they clamored after.
Jesus could see through the festive atmosphere of the Passover that energized the mass hysteria. He could see into their hearts.
He knew every unkind and hurtful word and act that had wounded every heart.
He knew every unkind and hurtful word or act that they had uttered or committed that had wounded the hearts of others.
He knew their fears and doubts, their addictions and cover-ups, every personal and family secret, every strained relationship, every insecurity, every lie about themselves, every failure and every regret.
Because of that, He refused to give them what they wanted. He was going to give them what they needed—liberation from the penalty and power of sin.
It seemed so plain to me that if Jesus had given them everything they wanted—freedom from Rome, removed all the hurtful people from their lives, a booming economy, better houses, better crops, more leisure time, no more fear of invading troops, and absolute earthly happiness, they would still be the same old messed up people relating to the same old messed up people in the same old messed up world.
What didn’t seem so plain to me until I started journaling about this core message—Jesus gives us what we need, not what we want—was how much I resemble the fickle crowds.
I began to write down what I wanted Jesus to do. I filled up almost two pages in my journal. And guess what? If Jesus changed all the things that preoccupy my prayers, I’d still be the same old Ed!
Seems that what I need most is for the Lord to change me, not my circumstances.
But He already has. Romans 6 tells me that I have been set free from the power of sin.
Maybe I should concentrate my prayers on asking the Lord to show me how to live out of who I am in Him, rather than asking Him to improve my messed up world.
For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are under law but under grace (Romans 6:14).