Were you ever taught or led to believe that Jesus was only a vengeful and angry man?
I believed that for a long time.
I had often pictured Him as someone Who only ever brought the sword and judgement down upon His enemies, or the people who didn’t heed Him. I saw Him as angry, more often than not, when He was speaking to the crowds or to His disciples.
But here we see something different. He is standing on Mount Olivet, looking down at Jerusalem, and He is weeping for the broken lives within. He is not angry that they will very soon crucify Him. He’s not pronouncing curses on them for what they are about to do; instead, His heart is broken for what He knows they will do. Not that He was sad for His death, but that He is utterly distraught that they are blind and broken souls.
It is so easy for me to look at sin, and look down upon the person in pride. To say “Well, my sins aren’t as bad as yours. Thank God I am not like you.” Or to think “Man, can’t you choose a less extreme sin? What is wrong with you! Stop destroying your life and the lives of your loved ones!”
But in this particular passage we see Jesus in pain as He weeps for the broken, lonely, and angry lives in the City of Jerusalem. And even now, His heart is broken for this World. He doesn’t look at people in their sin and want or desire to punish and burn them. No. He wants to reach them in their fear and loneliness and rescue them from it all. He wants to set people free to walk in true love to each other.
And He wants His people to have the same heart; to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free. The only way we can do this is by His Spirit - loving with His heart, and seeing the World and our neighbors with His eyes. We can never force someone into freedom. Or scold and lecture them into grace. We can only, by the Holy Spirit, show them the door and they themselves have to walk through it.
I encourage you, if you don’t already, to pray to have His heart and eyes for people. That He help you to love people beyond your own physical limits, and beyond what you alone can see of their lives. I know that, personally speaking, it makes a lot of difference in the lives of my Campers when I do this. It helps me to patient with the unruly ones. It helps me to have the right words to say the tired, hurt, and worn ones. And it pulls me out of my own shell of selfishness and step into someone else's pain for a little while.
Until next time,
Peace, love, grace, and blessings be multiplied to you.
*bonus note about the photo:
I took this sitting on the rooftop of one of the coolest restaurant concepts I’ve ever been to; a place in Denver called Avanti. My friend Marissa was showing me all the hippest places...until, right after this, she drove me through the heart of the gentrification. I was in such shock I didn’t even know how to respond as she explained to me that thousands of people were, quite literally, forced out of their third and fourth generation homes because a new stretch of highway was built. They were forced to sell their homes, and were given so little for them that there’s nowhere in Denver they can afford to live; so they’re homeless. The line for the shelter stretched down a street and began to wrap the block. A woman yelled to her friend “What’s wrong with these people? Why they gotta rob an old man! He’s jus’ an old man. He wasn’t doing anything. Why they gotta go rob him?!” Another woman was rocking back and forth sobbing uncontrollably while a young man attempted to calm her down and get her to breathe. And quite a few others just shuffled down the sidewalks, or sat and waited for their next crack-high. It is an image forever burned in my heart as I crawl into a comfy bed every night, and know where and how I’ll get my meals everyday.