The Savior’s Tears of Sovereign Mercy

Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” (Mark 11:9–10)

Palm Sunday is the day in the church year when traditionally we mark the entrance of Jesus into Jeru5salem for the last week of his life.

As he rode into town on the humble beast, Jesus was not oblivious to what was about to happen to him. His enemies were going to get the upper hand, and he would be rejected and crucified. And within a generation the city would be obliterated. Here’s how Jesus says it in Luke 19:43-44:

The days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.

God was visiting them in Jesus, his Son — “he came to his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11). But they did not know the time of their visitation. So they stumbled over the stumbling stone. The builders rejected the stone and threw it away. Jesus saw this coming.

The King Cries

How did he respond? “When he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ‘Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes’” (Luke 19:41–42). Jesus wept over the blindness and the impending misery of Jerusalem.

How would you describe these tears? I would call them tears of sovereign mercy. The effect they should have on us is to make us admire Christ, and treasure him above all others and worship him as our merciful Sovereign. And when we have seen the beauty of his mercy, we become merciful with him and like him, and for his glory.

So, let’s admire Christ together on this Palm Sunday.

Admiring His Tender Sovereignty

What makes Christ so admirable, and so different than all other persons is that he unites in himself so many qualities that in other people are contrary to each other. We can imagine supreme sovereignty, and we can imagine tenderhearted mercy. But to whom do we look to combine, in perfect proportion, merciful sovereignty and sovereign mercy? We look to Jesus. No other religious or political contender even comes close.

Look at three pointers to his sovereignty in the Palm Sunday account.

First, the crowds praised God for Jesus’ mighty works (Luke 19:37). He had healed leprosy with a touch; he had made the blind see and the deaf hear and the lame walk; he had commanded the unclean spirits and they obeyed him; he had stilled storms and walked on water and turned five loaves and two fish into a meal for thousands. So as he entered Jerusalem, they knew nothing could stop him. He could just speak and Pilate would perish; the Romans would be scattered. He was sovereign.

Then look, secondly, at verse 38. The crowds cried out: “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” Jesus was a King, and not just any king, but the one sent and appointed by the Lord God. They knew how Isaiah had described him — as sovereign over an invincible, never-ending kingdom:

Written by John Piper
Read more at Desiring God

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