“If you only knew today about what would give you – even you – peace ..." (Luke 19:42-44)

“If you only knew today about what would give you – even you – peace. But now they’ve hidden this from your vision. Because the time will come for you when your enemies will put up a barricade against you and surround you and press against you from every side. Then they will level you to the earth and your children with you – and they won’t leave within you one stone upon another because you didn’t recognize your time of testing." (Luke 19:42-44)

Why did Jesus say this?

Jesus is speaking to the inhabitants of Jerusalem when he overlooked the city as he walked down towards it from Mount Olives:
As he neared Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it. (Luke 19:41)
Why did he weep over it? He was feeling sad because of the plight of the people of Jerusalem. Despite the fact that most of the city inhabitants were practicing Jews, they were being misled. They were in ignorance regarding the truth about the Supreme Being because they were being misled by the Jewish ecclesiastical teachers.

Let's break down Jesus' statement so we can understand his points:

“If you only knew...."

Who is the "you" in this statement? "You" comprises of the people of Jerusalem. Jesus was feeling sorrow because they were following teachers that were not able to deliver them. The word "peace" here is translated from the Greek word, εἰρήνη (eirēnē). This word can mean peace as in the absence of war, but this is not the way Jesus is using this word. As stated in Thayer's lexicon, in the context of Jesus' statement he is referring to "the tranquil state of the soul" and "the blessed state of devout and upright."

In other words, Jesus is referring to spiritual peace. Spiritual tranquility. This is the state where the spirit-person (or soul) has devoted themselves to the Supreme Being.

Why does this bring spiritual tranquility?

Just think about the root of the anxieties and fears the people have. Then consider the anger, hatred, and violence that we see around us - throughout the physical world. Where do these come from?

They come from self-centeredness. They come from putting myself or my extended self - my family, religion, nation and so on - first.

When we put ourselves or our extended self first, by default we forget our innate loving relationship with the Supreme Being. Doing so forces us to give up the shelter of His mercy. This is why we are all here in the physical world in the first place. We chose self-centeredness over our loving relationship with God.

This is not a trivial thing. Most of us have forgotten the intense loving relationship we had with God.

This is outside of the mind's ability to grasp it, but we can get a distant glimpse of this relationship should we consider an intimate relationship between a man and a woman.

When a man or woman "falls in love" with someone, that relationship is all they can think of. They are always thinking of this person they have "fallen in love" with. And due to this, they feel a type of bliss.

People will often comment on a person who has "fallen in love" with someone as having a certain "glow." What is this "glow?" It is a distant glimpse of the feeling of bliss that we naturally have in our loving relationship with the Supreme Being.

But now what often happens in a relationship between a man and woman that have "fallen in love" is that over time, the feeling of "falling in love" gradually fades. After a few years of being together, that "glow" begins to wear off as they get used to each other.

Over time they can begin to drift apart. Even in those relationships between a man and woman that last a lifetime, the bliss of "falling in love" fades. They might still feel love for each other. But that "fallen in love" feeling fades as the practical elements of the relationship take over.

For many others, after a few years, the relationship will completely shrivel up. The two people who had "fallen in love" might just break up - or otherwise become miserable with their relationship.

Why does this happen?

Why can't the "falling in love" feeling last?

There are two parts to this answer. The first part is we gradually find out that they aren't as perfect as we originally thought. We begin to see their other faults. We gradually realize that the other person wasn't the perfect soul-mate that we thought they were.

This is because they, like us, are not perfect. They are not the Supreme Being that we are really looking for. When we pictured them as our soul mate, we did initially think of them as perfect - or at least perfect for us. But as time went on, we gradually realized that they were neither perfect nor perfect for us.

This is because deep inside, we are actually looking for our real soul mate - the Supreme Being, who is perfect - and perfect for each of us.

The second part of the reason why people fall out of love relates to self-centeredness. When a person begins to think about what they are getting out of the relationship - whether they are getting what they want - this changes things. In the beginning of a "fallen in love" scenario, each individual typically just wants to please the other.

This is somewhat of a self-propelling cycle because when a person is constantly thinking about the other person they are thinking about how to please that person. And wanting to please someone else - well, this naturally feels good within. So we want to continue to do this.

But at some point in such relationships between two materialistic persons, self-centeredness creeps in. When each person begins to see the selfish side of the other person, the relationship starts to break down. Each person realizes the self-centeredness of the other person, and this collapses their relationship.

As each party thinks about whether they are getting what they want out of the relationship, the relationship itself begins to crumble. This is because the relationship was initially based upon each party wanting to please the other - not on each party getting what they want.

Often this is brought on by sex. Because sex doesn't satisfy the spirit-person within, it often leads to a realization that the person isn't getting what they want out of the relationship - because the sex doesn't satisfy the person as they initially imagined it would.

As these selfish considerations begin to take hold, the relationship changes. Some relationships continue, as each party considers the alternatives and figures that this is the best they can get.

There may even still be some love between the two - some genuine care for the other person. But once self-centeredness enters the relationship, things change. Many simply fall out of love and/or just break up. (The best type of lasting relationship is one where the Supreme Being is the center of both of their lives - this creates a mutual and enduring love.)

What does this have to do with the "peace" - the spiritual tranquility - that Jesus is speaking of? The spiritual tranquility that Jesus is speaking of is love and devotion to the Supreme Being. This brings about the real bliss we seek as we think we have fallen in love with someone in the physical world.

How can love for God bring us peace?

Love for the Supreme Being - wanting to serve Him and please Him - brings upon us the true nature of falling in love. This actually is our innate inheritance. By nature, we were given this ability to love the Supreme Being with all our heart. But we lost it and have forgotten this. This is why Jesus is full of sorrow as he considers the people of Jerusalem - and most of us in the physical world.

But why have we forgotten our loving relationship with God?

For the same reason as part two of the reason why people fall out of love. Due to self-centeredness. Because being in love with God is our free choice, we have the ability to become self-centered. Once we started thinking about ourselves and what we are getting out of our relationship with God - things changed. We began to seek our own satisfaction rather than seeking the Supreme Being's satisfaction.

Once He saw this take place within us - He gave us the means to chase our self-centeredness. He put us into the physical world and gave us these temporary physical bodies, and put a fog over us which allowed us to forget our innate loving relationship with Him.

You see, once we wanted to chase after our own satisfaction, the Supreme Being let us go. The only way that we could truly chase after our own satisfaction was to allow us to forget Him. This is built in to the setup of the physical world - with the covering of the mind and the body over the spirit-person.
"But now they’ve hidden this from your vision. Because the time will come for you when your enemies will put up a barricade against you and surround you and press against you from every side."
Who is the "they" in this next part of Jesus' statement? Jesus is reflecting upon not only their innate forgetfulness of the Supreme Being - but the leadership of those Pharisees, scribes and chief priests of the ecclesiastical Jewish organization. They were continuing to enslave the people by masquerading as representatives of God while their focus was only upon retaining their authority and power over the people.

In other words, their teachers were misleading them. They were saying that they were representing Moses and Abraham, yet their teachings ignored the basic principles of Moses and Abraham: To love God with all our heart and soul, and worship Him, and praise the Supreme Being.

Instead, those Jewish ecclesiastical teachers were emphasizing the strict rules and rituals - as if the rituals in themselves would save them.

This is the same thing that is going on today among the ecclesiastical institutions that claim to be following Jesus. These teachers emphasize so many different rituals - as if these rituals will save them.

Can rituals save us?

The purpose of a religious ritual is to remind the person of one's innate relationship with the Supreme Being. They are intended to stir up our devotion to God.

But if the ritual is done solely with a self-centered purpose in mind it becomes useless. If, for example, a person goes to church and does some crossing and bowing and eating crackers and grape juice only for the purpose of becoming purified - that ritual is worthless. It does not achieve the purpose of increasing our love and devotion to the Supreme Being - which saves us.

This is why Jesus was feeling so sad for the people of Jerusalem. They were doing lots of rituals - following the Passover and all the other religious rituals. But they were doing these only for the sake of becoming purified - a self-centered activity. Those rituals, therefore, had no effect upon their spiritual lives.

Furthermore, they were being led by teachers who were not loving God. Their teachers were not devoted to the Supreme Being but only to themselves. Thus, those teachers could only teach their followers what they knew - how to gain authority and power by cheating others.

How did they cheat others? By tricking them into believing that they were holy and devoted - as they wore the big robes and led all the ritualistic ceremonies. But as Jesus said of them, they were wolves in the clothing of sheep.

The end result of following such cheaters is that one becomes trapped within the physical world - not just in this lifetime, but in the coming life. We become trapped by the teachings and influences of those who simply want to use us and take advantage of us. This is hell.
"Then they will level you to the earth and your children with you – and they won’t leave within you one stone upon another because you didn’t recognize your time of testing."
Jesus is discussing the consequences of following those teachers. Specifically, he is speaking of the people of Jerusalem - but this can be applied to us as well.

Being "leveled to the earth" allegorically means being trapped within the physical world during this lifetime and the next. When the physical body dies, it decomposes. But a person who has not advanced in their spiritual relationship with God will continue within the physical world by taking on another physical body, instead of returning home to the spiritual realm.

Many have translated and interpreted the Greek word ἐπισκοπή (episkopē) to "visitation" or "salvation" among the different Biblical translations. But the word actually means "investigation" or "inspection." Furthermore, Thayer's lexicon says, "that act by which God looks into and searches out the ways, deeds character, of men, in order to adjudge them their lot accordingly, whether joyous or sad."

Is Jesus speaking of being tested?

Yes. Welcome to the human form of life. There are millions of different species of life, and in each species of life, there is a spirit-person within. In these species, the spirit-person is completely covered with ignorance.

The human form of life is different, however. The human form of life is a stepping stone back to the spiritual realm. In the human form of life, we have the chance to return to our innate loving relationship with the Supreme Being.

That is, should we choose to. This is why we are faced with so many tests and lessons throughout life. Because we are being tested as to whether we would like to return home to our loving relationship with the Supreme Being, or not.

We simply have to make the choice. Yes or no.

But if we make the choice, it has to be a determined choice. We have to commit ourselves to that choice. We have to get serious about our choice.

Why? Because that's what relationships are like. Just imagine how our husband or wife would feel if we weren't sure whether we were ready to commit ourselves to the relationship. This is a serious thing - because there is another person involved.

With the Supreme Being, it is also serious, but even more so. It is serious because it involves not only us and the Supreme Being but those around us. Are we willing to commit ourselves to our innate loving relationship with God?

As long as we continue to make that choice, the bliss (or "peace") of loving God never fades - because He is the Perfect Person - the Soul Mate each of us have been searching for.