Compassion in the Middle of Conflict

Note from JesusDear Friend,

I came to Jerusalem and was greeted with wild enthusiasm. I came as the Prince of Peace, humbly riding on the colt of a donkey as prophesied (Zechariah 9:9). I did not come as a conquering general riding on a white horse.

The crowd was overjoyed at My coming to Jerusalem:[A] huge crowd of disciples began to celebrate and praise God with loud shouts, glorifying God for the mighty works they had witnessed.The religious leaders were incensed at My entrance into Jerusalem. They demanded that My followers stop their praises. What was My response to these leaders? I told them the truth!Listen — if they [the people in the crowd] were silent, the very rocks would start to shout!The time for diplomacy and subtlety was over. People had to decide what they believed about My identity. Fence-straddling was no longer possible. The issue of My identity could no longer be ignored. The people did not let Me slip quietly into Jerusalem. They wanted God’s promised deliverance. They were convinced that I could bring deliverance to them. But even with their grand expectations, they had no idea what was at stake as I entered Jerusalem!

Jerusalem’s leaders rejected Me. They made the excuse that they were trying to preserve and protect Jerusalem. I knew better. They were trying to protect and preserve their own positions. When I saw the city of David, the holy city for the Israelites, My heart was broken. The leadership of My people refused the offer of peace I came to bring them.

Only by accepting Me would Jerusalem have been spared impending destruction. However, Jerusalem’s leaders would not accept Me. They would kill Me for many reasons, but one of their stated reasons was to save their city, their temple, and their way of life (John 11:45-53). What these leaders didn’t realize was that they were rejecting their only chance for lasting and true peace by rejecting Me.

O how I wish they had welcomed Me and the peace I longed to bring. But in the end, all I could say was really heart-breaking:How I wish you knew today what would bring peace! … Your enemies will smash you into rubble and not leave one stone standing on another, and they will cut your children down too, because you did not recognize the day when God’s Anointed visited you.How could My heart not break?

How could My emotions not be aroused?

How could I not keep coming back to the temple to reach out to any who would listen?

How could I not confront the religious leaders with their hypocrisy, duplicity, and ignorance of the Scriptures they claimed to know?

What followed My triumphal entry was a week of conflict. Please know, however, that I loved these very people I confronted. I loved the people who listened on the fringes of the crowd. I loved each person in the crowd. So I ministered to their needs. I confronted their wrong-headed notions about their faith. I did not hide to keep Myself safe. I did not play the game of couching things in politically correct speech.

The strongest words of confrontation and accusation of My whole ministry came during this final week before My crucifixion. These words sealed My fate. Nevertheless, behind even these strong words, My heart was filled with compassion. I hurt for people held in bondage to their false notion of religion, to their pretentious show of religious knowledge, and to their pompous parade of the self-righteousness. My heart ached for those fueled by hate and determined to kill Me. They wanted to return things back to their religious and political status quo. I did not back down from the conflict. False religion and duplicitous hearts had to be confronted. However, I never let go of My compassion for those filled with hate and determined to kill Me!

I mourned their blindness. I wept for their self-imposed destruction. I grieved their hardness of heart. I died so they could be forgiven for it all.Verses to LiveThis last week before My crucifixion was a week of conflict and compassion. So as you read about this last week, listen carefully. Examine the words of My story reported to you by the four gospel writers — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Notice the seeds I sowed in the hard hearts of those who would one day remember what happened during this week and come to faith (Acts 2:33-39). Today, please remember this truth: even if the crowd had not welcomed Me to Jerusalem in my triumphal entry, the rocks would have shouted out My praise.When He [Jesus] finished the parable, He pushed onward, climbing the steep hills toward Jerusalem.

He approached the towns of Bethphage and Bethany, which are near Mount Olivet. He sent two of the disciples ahead.

Jesus:Go to the next village. When you enter, you will find a colt tied — a colt that has never been ridden before. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you why you’re untying it, just say, “The Lord needs it.”So the two disciples found things just as He had told them. When its owners did indeed ask why they were untying the colt, the disciples answered as they had been instructed.

Disciples:The Lord needs it.They brought the colt to Jesus, threw their coats on the colt’s back, and then sat Jesus on it. As Jesus rode along, some people began to spread their garments on the road as a carpet. When they passed the crest of Mount Olivet and began descending toward Jerusalem, a huge crowd of disciples began to celebrate and praise God with loud shouts, glorifying God for the mighty works they had witnessed.

Crowd of Disciples: The King Who comes in the name of the Eternal One is blessed!

Peace in heaven! Glory in the highest!Pharisees (who were in the crowd):Teacher, tell these people to stop making these wild claims and acting this way!Jesus:Listen — if they were silent, the very rocks would start to shout!When Jerusalem came into view, He looked intently at the city and began to weep.

Jesus:How I wish you knew today what would bring peace! But you can’t see. Days will come when your enemies will build up a siege ramp, and you will be surrounded and contained on every side. Your enemies will smash you into rubble and not leave one stone standing on another, and they will cut your children down too, because you did not recognize the day when God’s Anointed One visited you.He entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. He began driving out the temple merchants.

Jesus:The Hebrew Scriptures say, “My house shall be a house of prayer,” but you have turned it into a shelter for thieves.He came back day after day to teach in the temple. The chief priests, the religious scholars, and the leading men of the city wanted to kill Him, but because He was so popular among the people — who hung upon each word He spoke — they were unable to do anything.
(Luke 19:28-48)Response in PrayerO Father, I want to believe that had I been there that day when Jesus entered into Jerusalem on a colt, I would have praised Him for His great works and His great teaching. But sometimes I find myself slipping into the mode of trying to preserve the religious status quo of my day. Sometimes I don’t want to risk having an extravagant and bold faith in Jesus and being rejected by people I know. I sometimes catch myself trying to water down some of Jesus’ strong words of truth because they are not acceptable to many people — inside or outside Your people of faith. So give me compassionate courage, I pray, dear Father. I want to stand for truth and speak the truth to the hearts of those who need it. Help me, dear Father. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.’A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware. © 1998-2022, Heartlight, Inc. ‘A Year with Jesus’ is part of the Heartlight Network.All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Compassion in the Middle of Conflict
Source: Passion for Praise