On the Christian calendar, this week is Holy Week — the days leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection. One of the more poignant moments in that story is when Jesus sits on a rock overlooking Jerusalem and begins crying.
He cries because he has come to give them peace, and they don’t realize it.
He cries because he knows what’s about to go down.
And he cries out of compassion for the everyday, normal folks walking around Jerusalem’s streets — folks who are, as Jesus puts it, “like sheep without a shepherd.” His heart breaks for them.
In memory of that moment and in honor of the Easter season, I am posting a few paragraphs from my book Torn Wineskins this morning:
It was enough to make Jesus himself cry, as he mourned that the people he loved “were like sheep without a shepherd.”
I find it interesting that Jesus didn’t mourn because the people were leaderless. They had leadership. They had people defining rules and interpreting the Law and explaining how to get into a right relationship with God for them.
They were not without leaders. They were without a shepherd – someone who cared about them and for them. Someone who would feed them and make them lie down in green pastures. Someone who could gently guide them into the heart of God.
Sometimes I wonder if Jesus wouldn’t mourn the same things in the modern church as well. We have plenty of leaders who are anxious to describe, debate, and define doctrine – but what people need is a shepherd. Someone who has sacrificed the power of fear at the feet of Jesus and is willing to allow things to get really messy as they lean on the power of the Holy Spirit instead.
I pray that all of us will recognize this Easter season that Jesus is coming to give us peace. That in the midst of all our leaders, he is the shepherd. And I pray you find comfort in his compassion.