Thursday, April 13, 2023

Learn to Weep for the Lost

“As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it.” – Luke 19:41

Years ago, there was a small town in the Midwest that had three churches. And each house of worship was being overrun with pesky squirrels. The squirrels were running amuck: making noise, chewing holes in the pews, swimming in the baptisteries and making a mess all over the place. So, each church came up with a solution. At the first church, the leaders determined that God had predestined the squirrels to be there, so they shouldn’t interfere with God’s divine will. At the second church, they tried to drown the squirrels in the baptistery, but that didn’t work. Once the squirrels were baptized, they were so excited, they brought all their friends with them to church the next week.

The third church came up with the most effective solution. They led the squirrels through confirmation classes and made them all members of the church. Now the squirrels only come to church on Christmas, Palm Sunday and Easter.

Now, I hope you’re in church more than a few times a year. But since tomorrow is Easter, I’d like to take a look at the events leading up to one of Christianity’s most-observed holidays, starting with Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

For the past three years, Jesus had traveled throughout Israel urging people to repent of their sins and accept the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven. But, for the most part, Jesus kept a low profile. He didn’t go out of His way to draw large crowds, and when He healed someone, He usually did it privately. So, Palm Sunday marked a major shift in Jesus’ ministry. This time, He entered Jerusalem with a whole lot of fanfare. He rode a donkey, the frequently-chosen mount of a Jewish king. He was greeted by a cheering crowd who laid palm branches at his feet, a symbol of victory. And they cried “Hosanna!”—which translates, “Save us now!”

I think they wanted Jesus to ride that little donkey all the way to the temple, declare himself king, and lead an army to slaughter all their Roman oppressors. But that’s not what Jesus did. According to Luke 19:41-42, “As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He 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.” From the perspective of the crowd it was very anticlimactic. They thought their cheers were leading to a great military victory. But within minutes their bubble was burst. Jesus got off his donkey, looked around a bit and left.

Jesus didn’t bring a great victory on Palm Sunday. But little did the crowds know that in just five days, Jesus would bring the first of the two greatest victories in the history of the world: the victory over SIN. And just seven days after Palm Sunday, He would bring the other greatest victory the world has ever seen: the victory over DEATH.

I’d like to share two Life Lessons we can take from those events:

Life Lesson #1: Don’t be a church holiday squirrel. This lesson sounds silly, but we really DO need to take it to heart. And it isn’t just a lesson for people who only go to church on special occasions. All of us who call ourselves Christians have a tendency to make church too much about what’s convenient for us, and not about what is commanded by Christ. Have you ever wondered how some of the same people who shouted “Hosanna!” on Palm Sunday could turn around and yell “Crucify Him!” just five days later on Good Friday? They were fair-weather FANS of Jesus, not committed FOLLOWERS of Jesus. They wanted Jesus to meet their needs and do what they wanted Him to do. They weren’t willing to change their plans to align with His plans. Being a true follower of Jesus takes commitment and discipline. Jesus didn’t save you in order to make your life easier and more convenient. He saved you in order to make you holy and useful to Almighty God.

Life Lesson #2: Jesus calls us all to weep over our Jerusalem. Jesus Christ wants us to pray for our Jerusalem: the unsaved family members, friends and neighbors in our lives. He wants us to build relationships with unbelievers and to always be ready to invite someone to church or share Christ with them. And all of these efforts to help Him save others are more effective when they are mixed with heartfelt tears. Psalm 126:5-6 tells us: “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.”  When the gospel seed is mixed with tears, God works in extraordinary ways. Your efforts to build relationships with unbelievers, invite people to church and steer conversations to Christ will ALL be more effective when mixed with tears.

What is true for you as an individual Christian is true for Christ’s Church. We are called to make a greater impact in our community for Jesus. And we will do so much more effectively if our heart truly breaks for our community and we weep over the Victor Valley. Allow the Spirit of God to break our hearts as we see the people around us who desperately need Jesus. Let’s weep over our Jerusalem, and lead others to hope and salvation.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us at our great NEW worship location in Apple Valley (16209 Kamana Road) at 9am and 11am. You can also join us livestreaming online at Facebook or YouTube. For more information, visit

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