This is holy week. These are the days that lead up to the death and resurrection of Jesus. There is no more significant time than this. Everything we believe, everything we try to devote our lives to finds purpose and meaning in the events that culminate at the end of this week.
Paul the apostle says that if Jesus is not resurrected from the dead then we Christians should be pitied above all others (1 Cor. 15:19). We have set our hope here. We have set our identity in the resurrected One. This week we stop the regular, monotonous rhythms in favor of a few moments; brief times to reflect and remember. This week holds the key to all the hope: Jesus making his way to the cross; Jesus knowing where he is going; Jesus in reverent submission, sacrificing his holy, prefect self for ragged sinners who neither understand nor care. God in perfect love and ultimate sacrifice, bringing life to the lifeless.
In this we hope.
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 5:7-10
I have tried to find words for the tears of Jesus. But how do you write about the grief of the Almighty?
I wrote in abstract, and then I wrote in the matter of fact. I wrote a poem, and then I wrote a story. I wrote and deleted, wrote and deleted.
The simple fact is, Jesus coming to earth—God in flesh, living among us, living to die—these realties mean Jesus weeps.
“…fervent cries and tears…”
There are no words for the Creator crying over his creation. Crying not just because it’s gone all wrong. Crying not just because it isn’t as it should be—us living in wicked rebellion and lost-ness. But crying because he loves greatly and fervently and even to the point of death. Crying for the Self-inflicted pain to bring Self-glory and our worship.
Putting that to words? They just all end up sounding childish or obscene in the face of such grace and love.
The Son of the Most High learning obedience in suffering. The Almighty Messiah in reverent submission. The grief of perfect love does wild and reckless things—reckless by the standards of earthly wisdom. There are not words because there is not the ability to wrap our minds fully around a love so pure and perfect and full of glory. That God would love us so much that he would not simply find a way for us to reach him, but would give himself to save us. Not a love that says, “I can’t watch you self-destruct so I’ll wipe the slate clean and start again.” But a love that says, “You have no hope in yourself. I will pay the price for you. I will die myself, so that you can live in me.”
As we focus on Jesus making his way to the cross this week it is good and right for us to remember that as he walked this earth he did so offering up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears.
How could we be loved this much? That the King of glory, strong and mighty, would weep for the lost? And not just weep, but the Creator enters creation and dies for the sin of those who do not even love him!
The source of eternal salvation, the Son of reverent submission, who learned obedience, suffered death—this is our King of glory. Our King of tears.