By Will Thomas
Picture a tuning fork musicians use, or at least used to use, to adjust their instruments. The tone of a certain fork matches a particular musical note. The piano tuner, for example, sounds the fork and then adjusts a specific piano string to that tone. Hold that picture.
Three events from a single day of Jesus’ life, recorded in Luke 19, offer three tuning forks for the soul. Each sound the pitch of a heart.
Tuning fork No. 1—Jesus entered Jerusalem on the Sunday before Good Friday. The countdown to the cross had begun. He rode on a young donkey, not a white stallion as a conquering hero might. The crowds cheered, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” Luke said they praised God in loud voices because of all the miracles they had seen (19:37). One year earlier, another crowd attempted to take Jesus by force and make him king after he miraculously fed a crowd of more than 5,000 people (John 6:15).
Some eagerly cheer cheap grace—a solution to their problems without a change of direction for their lives.
Tuning fork No. 2—At the same time the crowds cheered Jesus, others sneered. “Make them stop,” demanded some Pharisees. “You don’t get it,” Jesus essentially said, “If they stopped cheering, the rocks would start!” The religious leaders had often complained about Jesus. He didn’t follow their rules. He associated with the wrong kind of people. Worst of all, he insisted that they needed to repent and truly get right with God. The Pharisees thought they were the most righteous people. Jesus said they were the most self-righteous.
Tuning fork No. 3—The crowds cheered because they thought Jesus would solve all their problems. Their only interest was self-interest. The religious leaders resented him because he unmasked their self-righteousness. The next verse provides a glimpse into Jesus’ heart. As you come down the Mount of Olives, the road turns and the city of Jerusalem comes into view. Luke said Jesus wept when he saw it. He knew what they didn’t.
Someday, judgment will come. A horrible fate awaits those who fail to prepare. Jesus grieved to the point of tears. He cared about a lost world—all the way to the cross.
Three tuning forks sounding three notes—self-interest, self-righteousness, and self-sacrifice for lost people. Each reveals the pitch of a heart, the direction of a soul.
The New Testament reminds those who partake of Communion “to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup” (1 Corinthians 11:28). May the words of the old hymn reflect the cry of our soul, “Come thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace.”
Will Thomas is a freelance writer and Bible teacher currently living in Florida. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released God Is at Work! And the Difference that Makes—a devotional commentary of Ephesians (Xulon Press, 2023).