Disappointed in Jesus.

"Leadership is the art of disappointing people at a rate they can stand. -Ron Heifitz, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading, 2002

In the midst of the crowded streets of Jerusalem were palm branch-waving skeptics. The very popular young teacher from the Galilee region rode into the capital city on a donkey as people shouted, "Hosanna! Lord, save us!" He certainly had a following. Everyone agreed. But, there were many who were not pleased to watch Jesus ride by on display for the entire world to see.

Zealots may have waved a palm branch or dropped a cloak in front of Jesus but I don't think they were impressed with the parade. Zealots were politically motivated to rid Judea of Roman oppression. They tried everything they could to cause trouble for Roman soldiers. Zealots hated Rome with a passion. They were at the ready to take out a sword and die for what they believed in. Imagine their disappointment upon hearing Jesus' words, "My kingdom is not of this world."

Essenes retreated from the chaos of the capital to the quiet shore of the Dead Sea. Certainly, desert living had its own reward of implied intimacy with God. The austere living conditions removed any temptation of comfort or luxury and left room only for community, worship and a simple life with God. However, this community of Jews withdrew from life in the city or worship at the Temple to prepare for war. Make no mistake, the Essenes were a small sect of hopeful believers called the Sons of Light. They prepared for battle against the Sons of Darkness. Most likely not present at the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, their disappointment would've been an aloof head-turn away and dismissal of the shouts of "Hosanna! Save us!" Essenes were content to save themselves.

Sadducees fought the war by assimilating into the culture of the day. "If you can't beat 'em--join 'em," could have been their unique strategy to outlive the onslaught of religious propriety. Sadducees most certainly lined the streets of Jerusalem along with the Pharisees from distant lands waving palm branches vigorously in the warm Spring air. The Passover celebration in Jerusalem would've been a magnificent cosmopolitan mix of diversity. The Sadducee's disappointment was probably a scoff and a dismissal of a hand-wave as the word 'hypocrite' landed on their hearts convicting them of something every Jew knew deep within their heart. God does not tolerate such sin.

I like to imagine myself cheering along the roadside as Jesus entered Jerusalem. I've been to those streets many times and walked the way from the Mount of Olives to the city gate. But, I admit, I never imagined Jesus weeping as he approached the holy city. I suppose I too have misunderstood Jesus' true mission. There was no overthrow of the Roman government nor any other government that I know of. Maybe I just don't want to imagine a weepy Jesus. I confess I can be disappointed with him too. I misunderstand Jesus' true mission is not of violent action nor of somehow placing me on the donkey. Jesus' rightful place as he remains is the king of love. Perhaps he weeps as we still struggle with what truly brings us peace.

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." -Luke 19:41-42 (NIV)

-Pastor Jen