Luke 19:29-44 : Jesus' Triumphal Entry Into Jerusalem (Gospel of Luke)
Weeping at Easter
By Rev. Peter M. Buss Sr.
"And as they drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, 'If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that belong to your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.'" (Luke 19:41,42 ).
"'Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.... For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?" ( Luke 23:28,31).
Jesus wept over Jerusalem. The women wept over Him, and He told them to weep for themselves and for their children. Grief at a moment of triumph, grief at a moment of desolation.
There is irony in the Palm Sunday story, for over its rejoicing hangs the shadow of the betrayal, trial and crucifixion. Was the angry crowd that called for His crucifixion the same multitude that hailed Him as King five days earlier? Why did the Lord ride in triumph, knowing the things that would surely come to pass? He did so to announce that He, the Divine truth from the Divine good, would rule all things; to give us a picture which will stand for all time of His majesty. And then the events of Gethsemane and Calvary let us know the nature of that majesty - that indeed His kingdom is not of this world.
Can we picture the scene on Palm Sunday? The multitudes were rejoicing and shouting, and then they saw their King weeping. This was not a brief moment, but a sustained weeping, which caused the writer of the gospel to hear of it. Did their shouting die down as they watched His grief, did they wonder when He pronounced doom upon the city they lived in? "Your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children with you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another because you did not know the time of your visitation." Then, perhaps, as He rode on, the cheering resumed, and the strange words were forgotten.
There is yet another irony; for the people shouted that peace had come. "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" Yet when Jesus wept, He said to the city, "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes."
This grand panorama speaks of the world inside each human being. It is in our minds, in the spiritual sense of the Word, that Jesus rides in triumph. When we see the wonder of His truth, sense its power over all things, we crown Him. All the events of Palm Sunday tell of those times when we acknowledge that the Lord, the visible God, rules our minds through the Word which is within us. It is a time of great rejoicing. Like the multitudes of Palm Sunday, we feel that this vision will sweep all that is evil away, and the Lord will easily reign within us as our King and our God.
Such happy times do come to us, and we can rejoice in them, and hail our Lord and King with jubilation. "Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest!" Peace comes through conjunction with the Lord whom we have seen (Apocalypse Explained 369:9, 11). Yet the Lord Himself knows that there are battles to come from those who know no peace. This too He warns us of in His Word. In the natural Jerusalem of the Lord's day the rulers had used falsity to destroy the truth, and they brought much grief upon the Christians. In the spiritual Jerusalem in our minds there are false values which would destroy peace. Before we get to heaven there is going to be a battle between our vision of the Lord and our self love which will abuse the truth to make that happen.
So the Lord wept, out there on the mount of Olives, as He looked down upon the city. His weeping was a sign of mercy, for He grieves over the states in us which will hurt us and which are opposed to our peace. (Arcana Coelestia 5480; Apocalypse Explained 365 ; cf. 365:11, 340). Yet His grief is an active force, it is mercy, working to eliminate those states. Jesus promised that Jerusalem would be utterly destroyed - not a single stone left standing. It is true that the natural Jerusalem was razed to the ground, but this is not what He meant. He promises us - even as He warns us of the battles to come - that He will triumph, and that our Jerusalem - our excuses for doing evil - will not stand. They will be decimated by His Word. (Cf. Arcana Coelestia 6588 ; Apocalypse Explained 365 ).
He wept from mercy, and He promised an end to weeping, for "His tender mercies are over all His works."
On Good Friday there was surely cause for weeping. Picture this scene: The women were following the cross, lamenting. Jesus must have been bleeding from the whipping, and scarred by the crown of thorns. He was surrounded by people who enjoyed seeing someone die. Those who called Him their enemy were satisfied that they had won.
His followers were desolate. Never had they imagined that the dream He had fostered would end this way, or the Leader they loved would be treated so terribly. They felt for Him in what they were sure was His suffering. They wept for Him.
Then perhaps the crowds that insulted Him were stilled as He turned to the mourners. Out of His infinite love He spoke. "'Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.'" He did not think of His approaching agony, He grieved for those He loved. He would triumph. It was upon them that suffering would come. What clearer picture can we have of the goal which brought our God to earth than that sentence? He came because evil people and evil feelings bring misery to His children. He came to give them joy after their weeping, to give them consolation and hope, and finally to give them the certainty that there should be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying.
The women of that time did indeed face physical sorrow. It is heartbreaking to learn of the persecutions of the Christians, to think of people killed because they worship their God; of children being taken from them, of good people subject to the mercy of those who know no mercy. Indeed it must have seemed that the Lord was right in saying that it would have been better had they never borne children who would suffer so for their faith. "For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!'"
But the real reason the Lord came down to earth was that within physical cruelty there is a far greater hurt. There are plenty of people walking this earth who wouldn't think of murdering someone else, but who regularly enjoy taking away something far more precious - his ability to follow his Lord.
That was why the Lord spoke those words, "Weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children." The daughters of Jerusalem represent the gentle love of truth with sincere people all over the world. Their children are the charity and faith which comes from the love of truth. These are the casualties of evil, especially when it infests a church. These are the things that cause internal weeping, a sorrow of the spirit that is the more devastating because it is silent.
"Daughters of Jerusalem," He called them. Our innocent love of the truth grows up together with our justification for being selfish. In fact, it is ruled by self justification, as the daughters of Jerusalem were ruled by a corrupt church. When those women tried to break loose from the Jewish Church they were persecuted. When our innocent love of the truth seeks to lead us to follow the Lord we suffer temptations in our spirits. The hells rise up and tempt us with all the selfish and evil delights we have ever had, and we indeed weep for ourselves.
You see, it is not the truth itself that suffers! "Weep not for Me," Jesus said. The truth is all powerful. It is our love for that truth which is tempted. It is our charity and our faith - the children of that love - which suffer.
"For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore, and the breasts which never nursed.'" Doesn't it seem to us at times that the people who have no truths, who have no ideals, are the ones that are happy? In fact this is a prophecy that those who are outside of the Church and find it afresh will have an easier time than those who bring the falsities of life into the battle.
On Palm Sunday, when Jesus wept, He said that Jerusalem would be destroyed. As I have said, He was actually promising the destruction of evil in us. On Good Friday He gave the same assurance: "Then they will begin 'to say to the mountains, "Fall on us!" and to the hills, "Cover us!"' These apparently harsh words are ones of comfort, for they promise that as the Lord's truth triumphs in us, heaven will draw nearer. When that happens the hells who tempt us will be unable to bear the presence of heaven, and will cover themselves over and hide.
"For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?" The listeners knew what that meant: if when He was among them they rejected His truth, what will they do when the memory of His presence and His miracles have dried up? In the internal sense the green wood is truth that is still alive from a love for it. Even when we see the ideals of the Word, we are going to struggle with temptation. But when that wood dries out, when we can't sense the life and power of truth, the battle becomes very much harder.
In both these images - His weeping on Palm Sunday, His sad warning to the women to weep for themselves and for their children, the Lord is preparing us to fight for what we believe. How does He prepare us? By assuring us, not only of the trials to come, but of the certainty of victory now that He has revealed His might. There is such wonder, such hope for eternal happiness in the true Christian religion. Yet no worthwhile love will ever be ours to keep until it has faced its challenges. There must be a time of weeping: our merciful Lord weeping over our struggles and giving us strength from mercy; our dreams and hopes weeping when we fear they are lost. Through the trial we express our commitment to our dreams, and He delivers us.
Less than twenty four hours before His arrest the Lord spoke again about weeping. At the Last Supper He said, "Most truly I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice." But He did not stop there. "And you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you."
When He was crucified and rose again, they must have thought that now His words were fulfilled. Now they had found the joy which no one could take from them. Perhaps when they suffered at the hands of persecutors and found joy among fellow-Christians they thought the same. And finally, when they had fought their private battles, and from His power overcome the enemy within, they knew what He really meant.
"Jesus wept over the city." "Weep for yourselves and for your children." Our love of the truth will be threatened and with it our hope for true faith and true charity. It was to that end that He came into the world and rode in triumph and drank of the cup of rejection and apparent death - to be able to turn our sorrow into joy. Therefore He could also say, "In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." Amen.
Apocalypse Explained #31
31. Verse 6. And hath made us kings and priests, signifies that from Him we are in His spiritual and celestial kingdom. This is evident from the signification of "kings," as meaning those who are in truths from good; and since they constitute the Lord's spiritual kingdom, as meaning those who are in His spiritual kingdom. That these are signified by "kings" in the Word, will appear from what follows. The above is evident also from the signification of "priests," as meaning those who are in the good of love; and since these constitute the Lord's celestial kingdom, they also are those who are in His celestial kingdom. (That there are two kingdoms, into which the heavens are in general divided, see in the work on Heaven and Hell 20-28, and that the spiritual kingdom is called the Lord's regal kingdom, and the celestial kingdom His priestly kingdom, n. 24.) In any places in the prophetic Word, kings are mentioned, and he that is ignorant of the internal sense believes that by "kings" are there meant kings; kings, however, are not meant, but all those who are in truths from good, or in faith from charity, from the Lord. The reason of this is, that the Lord is the sole king, and those who from Him are in truths from good are called His "sons;" for this reason the same are meant by "princes," by "sons of the kingdom," by "sons of kings," and also by "kings;" and in a sense abstracted from the idea of persons, as it is in heaven, truths from good are meant, or, what is the same, faith from charity; since truth is of faith, and good is of charity.
(References: Revelation 1:6)
 That kings are not meant can be seen simply from its here being said that Jesus Christ "hath made us kings and priests"; and afterwards:
And hast made us to be unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign upon the earth (Revelation 5:10);
and in Matthew:
The good seed sown in the field are the sons of the kingdom (Matthew 13:38);
the "seed of the field" are truths from good with man from the Lord (Arcana Coelestia 3373, 10248, 10249). Everyone, moreover, may perceive that the Lord will not make all those here treated of to be kings, but that he calls them kings from the power and the glory which those have who from the Lord are in truths from good. From this it can now be seen that by "king," in the prophetic Word, is meant the Lord as to Divine truth, and by "kings" and "princes," those who from the Lord are in truths from good, and as most things in the Word have also an opposite sense, that "kings" signify in that sense those who are in falsities from evil.
(References: Arcana Coelestia 10248-10249)
 That by "King" in the Word is meant the Lord in respect to Divine truth, is clear from the words of the Lord Himself to Pilate:
Pilate said, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest it, because I am a king. For this have I been born, and for this am I come into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Everyone that is in the truth heareth My voice. Pilate said unto Him, What is truth? (John 18:37-38).
From the question of Pilate, "What is truth," it is clear that he understood that truth was called "king" by the Lord; but as he was a Gentile, and knew nothing from the Word, he could not be taught that Divine truth is from the Lord, and that He is Divine truth; therefore, immediately after his question:
He went out to the Jews, saying, I find no fault in him; and afterwards put upon the cross, This is Jesus, the king of the Jews. And when the chiefs of the priests said unto him, Write not, The king of the Jews, but that He saith I am the king of the Jews, Pilate answered, What I have written, I have written (John 19:4, 19:14-22).
(References: John 19:19-22)
 When these things are understood, it may be known what is meant by "kings" in the following passages in Revelation:
The sixth angel poured out his bowl upon the great river Euphrates, and the water thereof was dried up, that the way might be made ready for the kings that come from the sun rising (Revelation 16:12).
The great harlot that sitteth upon many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication (Revelation 17:1-2).
The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sitteth, and they are seven kings; the five are fallen, the one is, the other is not yet come. And the ten horns that thou sawest are ten kings, who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive power as kings with the beast for one hour. These shall war against the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them; for He is Lord of lords and King of Kings (Revelation 17:9, 10, 12, 14).
And the woman whom thou sawest is the great city, which hath the kingdom over the kings of the earth (Revelation 17:18).
Of the wine of the wrath of her fornication all the nations have drunk, and the kings of the earth committed fornication with her (Revelation 18:3).
And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together, to make war against Him that sat on the horse and against His army (Revelation 19:19).
And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it, and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it (Revelation 21:24).
In these passages by "kings" are not meant kings, but all who are either in truths from good, or in falsities from evil, as was said before. Likewise in Daniel:
By the king of the south and by the king of the north, who made war against each other (Daniel 11:40
By "the king of the south" are there meant those who are in the light of truth from good, by "the king of the north" those who are in darkness from evil. (That "south" in the Word signifies those who are in the light of truth from good, see Arcana Coelestia 1458, 3708, 3195, 5672, 9642; and "north" those who are in the darkness of falsity from evil, n. 3708, and in general, in the work on Heaven and Hell 141-153, where The Four Quarters in Heaven are treated of.)
 "Kings" are also frequently mentioned by the prophets in the Old Testament; and there likewise are meant those who, from the Lord, are in truths from good, and in a contrary sense, those who are in falsities from evil; as in Isaiah:
He shall disperse 1 many nations: kings shall shut their mouths upon Him; for that which had not been told them they have seen, and that which they have not heard they have understood (Isaiah 52:15).
In the same:
The Zion of the Holy One of Israel, thou shalt suck the milk of the nations, and shalt suck the breast of kings (Isaiah 40:14, 16).
Kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and the chief women thy nursing mothers; they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth (Isaiah 49:23; and (Isaiah 14:9) elsewhere, as in Isaiah 14:9; 24:21; 60:10; Jeremiah 2:26; 4:9; 49:38; Lamentations 2:6, 9 (Lamentations 2:9); Ezekiel 7:26, 27; Hosea 3:4; Zephaniah 1:8; Psalms 2:10; 110:5; Genesis 49:20).
 Since "kings" signify those who, from the Lord, are in truths from good, it was a custom derived from ancient times for kings, when they were crowned, to receive such insignia as signify truths from good: as for the king to be anointed with oil, to wear a crown of gold, to hold a scepter in his right hand, to be clothed with a purple cloak, to sit upon a throne of silver, and to ride with the royal insignia upon a white horse; for "oil" signifies good from which is truth (see Arcana Coelestia 886[1-2], 4638, 9780, 9954, 10011, 10261, 10268-10269); a "crown of gold" upon the head has a like meaning (n. 9930); a "scepter," which is a staff, signifies the power of truth from good (n. 4581, 4876, 4966); a "cloak" and a "robe," Divine truth in the spiritual kingdom (n. 9825, 10005); and "purple," the spiritual love of good (n. 9467); a "throne," the kingdom of truth from good (n. 5313, 6397, 8625); "silver," that truth itself (n. 1551-1552, 2954, 5658); a "white horse," the understanding enlightened from truths (see the small work on The White Horse 1-5. That the ceremonies observed at the coronation of kings involve such things, but that the knowledge thereof is at this day lost, see also Arcana Coelestia 4581, 4966).
(References: Arcana Coelestia 10268)
 As it is known from these things what is meant by a "king" in the Word, I will add to the above:
Why the Lord, when He entered Jerusalem, sat upon the foal of an ass, and the people then proclaimed Him king, and also strewed their garments in the way (Matthew 21:1-8; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-40; John 12:14-16).
This is predicted in Zechariah:
Exult, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, thy king cometh unto thee, just and having salvation; riding upon an ass, and upon the foal of an ass (Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:5; John 12:15).
The reason was, that to sit upon an ass and the foal of an ass was the distinctive mark of the highest judge and of a king; as can be seen from the following passages:
My heart is towards the lawgivers of Israel, ye who ride upon white asses (Judges 5:9-10).
The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgivers from between his feet, till Shiloh come; who shall bind his ass's foal to the vine, and the son of his she-ass to the noble vine (Genesis 49:10, 11).
As sitting on an ass, and the foal of an ass, was such a distinctive mark:
Judges rode upon white she-asses (Judges 5:9-10);
And his sons upon asses' colts (Judges 10:4; 12:14);
And the king himself when crowned, upon a she-mule (1 Kings 1:33);
And his sons upon mules (2 Samuel 13:29).
One who does not know the signification of "horse," "mule," and "the foal of an ass," in a representative sense, will suppose that the Lord's riding upon the foal of an ass was significative of misery and humiliation. But it signified royal magnificence; for this reason the people then proclaimed the Lord king, and strewed their garments upon the way. This was done when He went to Jerusalem, because by "Jerusalem" is signified the church (as may be seen in the little work on The New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine 6; and that "garments" signify truths clothing and serving good, may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia 1073, 2576, 5248, 5319, 5954, 9212, 9215-9216, 9952, 10536; and in the work on Heaven and Hell 177-182).
(References: Genesis 49:10-11)
 From this it is now clear what is signified by the "King" and by "kings," in the Word, so also what by the "Anointed," "Messiah," and "Christ;" for "Anointed," "Messiah," and "Christ," like "King," signify the Lord as to Divine truth proceeding from His Divine good; for a king is called "anointed;" and "anointed" in the Hebrew is Messiah, and in the Greek Christ. But that the Lord, as to the Divine Human, was alone "the Anointed of Jehovah," since in Him alone was the Divine good of Divine Love from conception, for He was conceived of Jehovah, but that all that were anointed were only representatives of Him (see Arcana Coelestia (Arcana Coelestia 9954), n. 9954, 10011, 10268-10269). But "priests" signify such good as exists in the celestial kingdom (see in Arcana Coelestia, namely, that priests represented the Lord, as to Divine good, n. 2015, 6148; that the priesthood was representative of the Lord as to the work of salvation, since this was from the Divine good of His Divine Love, see n. 9809; that the priesthood of Aaron, of his sons, and of the Levites, was representative of the work of salvation, in successive order, see n. Arcana Coelestia 10017; that from this "the priesthood," and "priesthoods," in the Word signified good of love, which is from the Lord, see n. 9806, 9809; that by the two names, "Jesus" and "Christ," is signified both His priesthood and His royalty, that is, by "Jesus" is signified Divine good, and by "Christ" Divine truth, n. 3004, 3005, 3009; that priests and likewise kings who do not acknowledge the Lord signify the opposite, namely, evil, and falsity from evil, n. 3670).