Thirty-some-odd years old, he sits on the back of a donkey, looking out at the gates of ancient Jerusalem. People throng the street before him, throwing their coats on the ground, waving palm branches, extolling him as Messiah and Lord. His closest friends dance alongside him as they lead the donkey ever closer to the towering entrance to the Holy City. Suddenly, overcome by some sentiment foreign to the jubilant hour, he begins to wail, his chest heaving as sorrow bubbles out of his throat.
The people stop cheering. The donkey halts its steps. The disciples grow silent.
Jesus weeps for his people: “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that would make for peace!”
What were those things? What was the cost of our peace with God? The temple cleansing, the prophecies of Jerusalem’s destruction, the plot to kill Jesus; the Last Supper, the Garden, the betrayal, the mockery of his trials; the beating, the Via Dolorosa, Golgotha, the thieves; finally, “It is finished” and the death of the Son of God.
While graphic, this clip from “The Passion of the Christ” reminds us that the death of Jesus wasn’t just an isolated event. It was the culmination of our rebellion against God and His unfathomable grace to redeem us from our own sin. The things that make for peace were set in motion long before we drew our breath, long before Jesus went to the cross, long before Adam and Eve fell. That knowledge should sober us, give us pause – and lead us into a time of prayerful silence, a time of gratitude that the God who made us, against Whom we’ve all rebelled, chose to make peace His will instead of giving us over to the death we deserved.