The Bible records at least three occasions when Jesus grieved: at the tomb of Lazarus, over the city of Jerusalem, and in the Garden of Gethsemane before His death.
Isaiah 53:3 “..A man of Sorrow and acquainted with grief”
Did you know that there is a chemical content in tears of grief that differs with the content in tears of joy? When we cry with tears of anguish, toxins are released from the body through our tears. Thank you, Lord, for giving us such a sweet release!
But I wanted to talk about the tears that Jesus had over the city of Jerusalem.
Luke 19:41-44 “As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it and He said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
Jesus has just cried over the city that had missed the GOLDEN opportunity. If the people had only received Him as Messiah, it would have meant peace for them. But they didn’t recognize that He was the source of their peace.
And now it was too late. They had already determined what they would do with the Son of God. Because of their rejection of Him…their eyes were blinded. Because they would not see Him….they could no longer see Him.
W.H. Griffith Thomas says, “Let us sit at Christ’s feet until we learn the secret of His tears, and beholding the sins and sorrows of the city and countryside, weep over them too.”
So, Jesus is weeping. He has left Bethany and has told two of His disciples to go ahead and they will find a colt, which has never been ridden, and to bring it to Him. It’s five days before Passover and the city of Jerusalem will be jam packed with people from all over Israel to join the celebration. Everyone who was anyone would be there.
Here we have the Pharisees, who were under the Roman rule; the Zealots who hated the Romans; the Sadducees who ran the Temple and cooperated with the Romans and the Roman people with their two main rulers, Pontius Pilot and Herod Antipas. Eeek! We have the perfect storm of confrontation!!!
And in comes Jesus on the back of a donkey!! So you have hundreds of people coming to join Jesus as He rides into Jerusalem waving palm branches….which I think is our version of a ticker tape parade! Meanwhile the chief priests and scribes are freaking out because a public display of support is the last thing they needed! So on the one hand you have hundreds of people joyfully singing and praising God, as He nears the Eastern Gate, and on the other hand you have the leaders of Jerusalem only getting more fired up….the closer He gets.
I love that Luke specifically tells us what was being cheered!
Luke 19:38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
The people are repeating Psalm 118:26!!! They were identifying Jesus as the Messiah!! Now (I love this part) the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “tell them to be quiet!” Now…listen to what Jesus says…..(wait for it…….) “I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
HAHA!!!! IN YO’ FACE, PHARISEES!!! He says that if he tells the people to shush, even the ROCKS will begin to praise Him!!!
But then, something strange happens…and only Luke speaks of it. As Jesus approached the city of Jerusalem, and he saw the city…He begins to weep. He could see beyond the cheering crowd and to the mob that was going to crucify Him. He knew that there were leaders that were plotting against Him, He knew that the crowd would be fickle and that the cheers would turn to jeers. Jesus knew on Sunday…what would happen on Friday……and He went anyway.
Jesus saw the future. He even spoke about it in vs. 43 and 44. He sees a famine taking hold, he sees the Romans circling the city to keep provisions from getting through. He sees many starving to death and the Romans finally breaking into the city. He sees the temple set on fire and slaughter in the temple courts.
He sees the horror that is about to come….and He weeps. Jesus was weeping because they were losing their great/golden opportunity…..
Is He weeping over you? Are you missing the golden opportunity to accept Him and reign with Him….FOREVER? If so….He is weeping.
Don’t count these tears as softness….Don’t think He will excuse your sin. He loves you and wants ALL of you…it is one thing to believe…..it is quite another to accept.
Our sin is a reality that won’t go away, no matter how we try to spin it…It may not be popular to be reminded of our sins….but often, things that are true….are not popular.