Knew ahead of time that the welcome celebrations were shallow, that behind the scenes jealous officials were already plotting his ‘removal’, that before the end of the week the cheers would turn to jeers and he would be unfairly, brutally executed.
More, he knew that in the short term his mission would seem a failure, for his own countrymen would not accept his message or leadership. His influence would spread far and wide elsewhere before winning the hearts of his homeland.
Perhaps worst of all he knew his people’s stubbornness against their God and their Roman rulers would end in violent disaster within a generation.
And so, not for the first time, Jesus wept.
‘As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, Jesus 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. The days will come when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognise the time of God’s coming to you.’ (Luke 19 v 41-44)
With great courage Christ tried to warn them, driving the crooks from the Temple courts, welcoming children and penitent sinners to prayer, challenging the hypocrisy of dead religion. But Jerusalem rejected and killed their Messiah and forty years later in AD70 the city was destroyed, its population massacred, just as their Prophet/King had predicted with tears.
From a distance cynics might ask, if Jesus knew all this beforehand what was the point? Of Palm Sunday, Good Friday, any of it?
But if we’re willing, some of us instead see in these tears and in the arms outstretched on the cross the depth of Divine love for a world spoiled and cursed because of sin. We see One Who genuinely loves us, and was willing to die for us. We see the birth of hope, the promise of life.
We see amazing grace.
Jesus knows everything about each one of us but comes anyway, with the offer of grace, and peace.
We can’t afford to turn Him down again.