If only you Knew the Things that Lead to Peace

On Palm Sunday we enter into the final week of God's great rescue and deliverance is Jesus Christ.
He may not look like much – and yet it is up to you whether you want to put your trust in him, the Jew, Jesus of Nazareth, the humble servant, the lover of people, who claimed to be the Son of God.

If only You Knew the Things That Lead to Peace
Palm Sunday 2020

As Jesus came to Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives, he gave two disciples a task. 30 He said, “Go into the village over there. When you enter it, you will find tied up there a colt that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say, ‘Its master needs it.’” 32 Those who had been sent found it exactly as he had said.
33 As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?”
34 They replied, “Its master needs it.” 35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their clothes on the colt, and lifted Jesus onto it. 36 As Jesus rode along, they spread their clothes on the road.
37 As Jesus approached the road leading down from the Mount of Olives, the whole throng of his disciples began rejoicing. They praised God with a loud voice because of all the mighty things they had seen. 38 They said,
“Blessings on the king who comes in the name of the Lord.
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens.”
39 Some of the Pharisees from the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, scold your disciples! Tell them to stop!”
40 He answered, “I tell you, if they were silent, the stones would shout.”
41 As Jesus came to the city and observed it, he wept over it. 42 He said, “If only you knew on this of all days the things that lead to peace. But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 The time will come when your enemies will build fortifications around you, encircle you, and attack you from all sides. 44 They will crush you completely, you and the people within you. They won’t leave one stone on top of another within you, because you didn’t recognize the time of your gracious visit from God.”

Luke 19: 29-44

They are many on their way - pilgrims on their way to celebrate Easter - people from all over the Mediterranean region. It is crowded with people - joyful people, expectant people….

They are walking along the mountain ridge, they pass through the villages of Betfage and Bethany - this is where Jesus sends a few disciples to fetch a colt ...

And as they bring the colt he mounts it ….

Today, you might name it self-staging but there is far more to his actions than an odd but funny YouTube Video – or an extravagant appearance on an award show.

Jesus places himself right at the center of the people's hopes and expectations – after years of occupation and oppression they are ripe for the Messiah to come, the saviour from God, the one the old prophets had said would come.
They begin to move. He is riding the colt, his friends are around him, and more people are coming, they are gathering a crowd.
And then they come around the next corner, just down the road from the mountain ... they all see it, the destination  of their journey .... Jerusalem, the holy city, where Easter is about to be celebrated ....

And suddenly people begin to take off their robes and spread them on the ground in front of him in reverence and worship, they break leaves of the palm trees and wave them, and his followers begin to shout… ..

Blessings on the king who comes in the name of the Lord.
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens

They are exuberantly happy, they shout louder and louder with growing intensity and enthusiasm….

Blessings on the king who comes in the name of the Lord.
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens

They are still outside of the city but they obviously close enough to get reactions….

Tell them to shut up….this is dangerous, there is rebellion and trouble brewing in their shouting – tell them to be quiet.

But he will not shut them down - he will not stop their proclamation of the Messiah - the King, who comes in the name of the Lord.

I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will shout – He replies.

Is this a direct confrontation - is it like a march, a demonstration to end oppression and bring salvation.

Or is it like a party with smiles and laughter, and Jesus just yells his happy answer as he rides by.

Is he happy at all - he knows he's going to be killed before the week is over.?

Perhaps the emotions and thoughts are simply completely contradictory.

Much to the dismay of his friends, he has told them on several occasions, that they are going to Jerusalem, where he will be killed and rise again on the third day.

But who believes that will ever happen, when the crowds are cheering for the Messiah, and He is right there in front of them.

It's on the way down the mountain he stops.

Today, a small church has been built on the very site, the altarpiece is a window overlooking Jerusalem - the temple site is just below. Dominus Flavit is the name of the church, “the Lord is crying” – this is where Jesus stopped to cry over the city.

I can't help but wonder, if he was crying over more than Jerusalem on that day. Perhaps he was crying for the people in Syria, Jordan, Congo, and even over the people infected by the Corona virus in intensive care struggling for their lives in Italy, Spain, New York and Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden. Perhaps he was crying over us. Could it be that he was crying over human suffering and disbelief in all times…..?

If only you knew the things that lead to your peace - but they don't, we don't, we don't see it. You didn’t recognize the time of your gracious visit from God, you missed it and you will perish. They should have learned the way of peace from his teaching – God was ready to act, but they did not see it. You were standing in front of an open door - but you decided not to enter. We had our opportunities, but we threw them away.
He mourns a world that does not know its own best - that continues to pollute while temperatures go up and the waters rise, and the poor yet again pay price. He mourns a world where we continue to increase the unfair distribution of our resources, and where the richest are more concerned with their own financial progress, than with children who die from malnutrition or never gets a chance in this world as they never had the opportunity to go to school.

Salvation and deliverance is born in love and pain over a people that doesn’t  know the things that lead to peace..

Jesus' love for us makes him mourn that we do not know what leads to peace in our lives.

He really is different - it seems almost ridiculous, he enters the city riding on a colt that can barely carry him. He is a caricature of a king. This is not how men or women of power make a appearance. Making a lasting impression takes so much more power and juice, pomp and splendor. There is not much Air Force One, X factor or star quality about Jesus on Palm Sunday.
Nevertheless we are witnessing God’s salvation. The kingdom of God is at hand, He is moving.
Wake up, drop and leave whatever you are doing and get onboard.

There are many who long for a better world - especially the poor, hungry, sick, oppressed and abused. Right now we are all experiencing this – we count those infected by Covid-19, those who are hospitalized and those in intensive care- and we count our deaths.
We all know someone who is ill. Some of you know a person who died due to the virus.
We know this is not how it should be, we want this to end, we want to have our life back. And so do the people in Myanmar, the Central African Republic and in Lebanon

On Palm Sunday we enter into the final week of God's great rescue and deliverance is Jesus Christ.
He may not look like much – and yet it is up to you whether you want to put your trust in him, the Jew, Jesus of Nazareth, the humble servant, the lover of people, who claimed to be the Son of God.

Over the coming week it’s going to get worse and worse

He will be arrested, convicted and executed - in a matter of days.

Oddly enough, the instrument of torture and execution, the cross, has become a symbol of peace, and a symbol of goodness defeating hatred, of love conquering evil and life prevailing over death. We know the symbol - it is found in every church, on tombstones, in obituaries, some of us even wear it as jewelry around our neck.

The cross is a defiant and distinct sign that right where life gets off trail, where we make bad choice, where we do more evil than good, and where we can't make ends meet – is where He encounters us.

When I go over the edge I'm not alone. When I hurt and I hurt others - when I miss the target completely, he is right there next to me. He has carried on all the pain in the world, to prevent us from being crushed under its weight. He has created the preconditions that the gravity of the mess we have created can be lifted of our shoulders. He has created a path into a whole new life - shaped by his goodness, forgiveness and love.

He has shown us a better world - a better way to be with each other - a greater respect and acceptance - a greater appreciation of goodness - a deep and unselfish love that forgives, heals and restores unconditionally. He has taught us and shown us what it means to love one another, all the way to the fullest extent.

I wonder if they knew what this would all mean when they shouted:

Blessings on the king who comes in the name of the Lord.
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens.

And I wonder do we know the things that lead to peace?



Loving God,
give me your peace of mind and calm my troubled heart.
My soul is like a turbulent sea.
I can't seem to find my balance so I stumble and worry constantly.

Give me the strength and clarity of mind to find my purpose. And let your peace fill the hearts of all those, who are troubled and worried like me during this time.

The Lords Prayer

Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, As it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.


May the Peace of the Lord