Today, I saw Jesus afresh.
I was reading chapters 20 and 21 in the book of Matthew.
Jesus walked with his disciples straight up a dusty hill. Fifteen miles from Jericho to Bethany, up the backside of the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem.
Along the way Jesus told his disciples he was going to die. He also said he was going to be raised from the dead on the third day, but somehow they missed this.
Mary’s sister Salome (Jesus’ aunt)—the mother of James and John—came to Jesus and said, “Tell me these boys of mine are going to sit at your right and left hand when you are in your kingdom.” Jesus didn’t get mad at her. Instead he appealed to the Jewish-ness of her sons. He told them they shouldn’t want to be like the Gentiles who have someone lording over them. And then he foreshadowed their deaths:
“You will drink my cup.”
Near the end of the day Jesus sent two of his disciples to run an errand. They were to go to Bethphage to fetch a colt for him to ride. The colt had never been ridden and its mother probably walked alongside. This gentle colt —not a warhorse—was a symbol that Jesus was coming in peace.
A crowd formed.
They laid down their cloaks and cut branches and spread them on the road, crying, “Oh save!”
Thirty-three years ago Herod the Great had tried to kill Jesus; now, in this scene, Jesus returned to die.
Thirty-three years earlier this city was troubled by Jesus’ birth (Matthew 2:3). In this scene, the text says the city was disturbed by him (MT 21:10).
The first thing Jesus did was go to the temple. When he saw all those buying and selling, he was disturbed. He overturned the heavy tables and chairs yelling, “My house will be called a house of prayer but you . . . you make it a house for thieves!”
Counselors know that anger is a secondary emotion. What underlies anger is almost always hurt, fear, and sadness.
This is what I saw for the first time today. My savior was exhausted. He hurt for the poor who were being taken advantage of in the temple. He was awash with sorrow knowing he would soon leave his friends. He was frustrated that nobody understood he came to die, and he was scared about his impending death.
Looking underneath the anger, it was this tired, hurt, scared, and sad Jesus I saw for the first time today.
I cried because I wanted to comfort him. I’m glad the scene ends with Jesus walking to Bethany where his friends would do just that.
This is the song that’s rumbling through my head:
Lucille Zimmerman is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a private practice in Littleton, CO and an affiliate faculty teacher at Colorado Christian University.
She is also the author of Renewed: Finding Your Inner Happy in an Overwhelmed World. Through practical ideas and relatable anecdotes, readers can better understand their strengths and their passions—and address some of the underlying struggles or hurts that make them want to keep busy or minister to others to the detriment of themselves. Renewed can help nurture those areas of women’s lives to use them better for work, family, and service. It gives readers permission to examine where they spend their energy and time, and learn to set limits and listen to “that inner voice."