In the Name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
that the deepest wound Our Lord endured
did not come
by way of the scourge
or way of the cross.
What hurt the most was not His hands or feet or back or lungs.
It was His heart that ached the most.
I do not think it was because
He was mocked and belittled
by Pilate’s and Herod’s soldiers.
Nor do I think it was for the blasphemy of the Sanhedrin,
or the failure of Pilate to stand against the mob and serve justice.
I suspect that the deepest wound He knew,
that which broke His heart,
was the betrayal of Judas,
whom Jesus loved,
for whom Jesus died.
That and the rejection by the City of Peace.
How painful to the heart
was the sound of blood lust
on the lips of those He loved.
The hatred boiled up from their hearts
and burst out of their mouths,
the will to power had a voice: “Crucify.”
It is what comes out a man that makes him unclean.
It is with the mouth that men show the state of their hearts.
Exhausted, beaten, bloody,
on His way to the Roman’s most ignoble death,
with the cross upon His shoulders,
He pauses outside the city gates.
He tells the women of Jerusalem to weep for themselves.
He will endure Hell’s fury.
He will make full payment for the sins of the world,
paying even for those who hate Him,
paying for Pharoah, Judas, and Caiphas,
for Osama Bin Laden and Hitler,
as much as for Mother Teresa, St. Lawrence, and Martin Luther.
He will be forsaken by the Father.
He will know torture, pain, and sorrow
like no other man has ever or ever will know.
For even those who reject Him,
and go to Hell,
and have only chosen to pay for their own sins,
pay for only one man’s sins,
not for the world’s.
But not so with Our Lord.
He pays for all men’s sins,
even for those who gain no benefit from it.
He is not a Substitute for some,
for believers only.
He is the Substitute for all.
He must pay for all sins, for all men, of all time.
But do not let this make you sad.
Do not weep for Him.
His sorrow will end.
He will conquer.
He will overcome.
He loves His Father.
His Father loves Him.
They will be reunited
when He fulfills His task
and destroys Hell’s prison.
He rises from the dead, the Victor.
He wins in defeat.
Satan’s accusations are stopped cold.
There are no more.
No one left to accuse you.
All men are reconciled to the Father.
His will is done
and it is good.
Nothing there to be sad about.
So do not weep for Him.
This is His Office and His purpose.
He goes to make peace for Jerusalem.
He was born to be the Sacrifice.
It was His intent from the instant Adam sinned.
Weep instead for Jerusalem.
For they known not what makes for peace.
They know not what Love is.
They have forgotten the promises.
They live in darkness when they could live in light.
They reject the Name of the only Begotten
and damn themselves to the care of demons
even though the price has already been paid.
And weep not merely for Jerusalem.
Also weep for Berlin, for Paris, for London.
Weep for Rome and Moscow.
Weep for Beijing and Tokyo and Seoul.
Weep for Sydney and Caracas and Rio.
Weep for Baghdad and Cairo and Johannesburg
Weep for Quebec and Washington and New York,
for San Francisco and Dallas and New Orleans.
Weep for St. Louis and weep for Ft. Wayne.
Weep for all the cities of men,
where men are gathered for commerce and for war,
where they know not what makes for peace
for they know not the Son of God in Mary’s Son.
They will all be reduced to rubble.
Not one stone will stand upon another.
This world is passing away.
Put not your trust in princes
they are all but mortal.
But do not weep for Peter
or for Mary Magdalene
or for Nicodemus.
Do not weep for the martyrs
full of arrows,
covered with boiling oil,
crucified upside down,
mauled by animals,
or set on fire.
Do not weep for them
for they are not sad.
Their pain and their trials have ended.
They have come to their reward.
They have followed the Lord through death and into life.
He has made for their peace.
He has ended the war in Himself.
His self-sacrifice has done what all the blood of goats and bulls could
it has cleansed the world of sin – once and for all,
purified men for the Lord – forever,
stopped the need for continual sacrifice and endless laws.
Your day will come.
Weeping will end.
Now you are sad.
You suffer the loss of loved ones
by death, by divorce, by greed and by lust.
Families and friends, cities and nations,
are not what they once were,
or what they could be.
All things are rotten and dying and corrupt,
for sin infects everything.
You are a victim.
You suffer for the sins of the world.
But so also
there is blood on your hands.
You’ve had a part in breaking up the good.
You’ve gossiped and betrayed friends, lovers, and family,
stolen and neglected and been lazy,
done everything you hate the most.
Is it not true that what you hate the most,
what makes you most angry
about your spouse or your mother or your friend
is what you know is your own weakness and failure?
Why do you do the things you hate?
Why do you take such risks?
Why do you repeat the same mistakes?
The same foolish selfishness,
going after the same vain lies of pleasures of the flesh
when they’ve never once delivered or satisfied in the past?
Why don’t you do the things you love?
Why don’t you do what is good, what is right, what is beautiful?
Weep if you must.
Your sins are grievous.
They are real.
not only you,
but most significantly
they hurt those you love.
The greatest damage is to your spouse and your children,
to your family and friends,
to your city and your church and your country.
But do not despair.
Do not give up.
Do not quit.
The Lord has wept for you.
And your sins were not enough to keep Him from the cross.
Your sins were not enough to stop His love.
He has loved you to the end,
without a pause, without hesitation or regret or second thought.
He has made for your peace.
He has given you a new family, new friends.
And His love brings the cities of men to an end.
He bids you to a city not built with hands,
a city that endures,
the promised land of Abraham is not made with dirt and stones,
is not run through with the Jordon River.
Abraham has come to the promised land.
He is there now.
And this land is promised also to you.
It is heaven
Your day will come, O Christian.
You will be free.
The Lord will lead you out of temptation.
He will deliver you from evil.
He will heal your deepest wounds
and dry your tears.
He will make you whole.
His sacrifice was not in vain.
He has laid death to rest.
He has stopped the devil’s mouth.
He has bou8ght and won you and declares you His.
He forgives all your sins.
Now there is something to weep about,
something grand and glorious and wonderful,
something to cause the praise and joy to catch in our throats
with sobs of purest, selfless bliss!
God in Christ Jesus loves us.
Thanks be to God.
God in Christ Jesus loves us.
In +Jesus’ Name. Amen.