As Jesus made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, he took a path that began at the Mount of Olives, down the western slope where the people stood in crowds, waving palm branches and praising Him loudly. But as He looked down at Jerusalem, Luke 19:41 tells us, “Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it.” The Hebrew word for wept is ἔκλαυσεν. This is not a silent cry with a single tear that slips down His face, but instead the word gives the meaning of weeping loudly. Even with all the suffering He would endure on the cross and leading up to the cross just a few days later, the Bible does not record Jesus expressing this kind of sorrow. But as he saw Jerusalem, he felt an intense grief…but why? Because He is God, we know that he knew the future destruction of Jerusalem. In verses 42-44, we can understand why Jesus wept over the city.
Jesus desired peace for the city. Verse 42 says, “If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this they day, the thing which belong unto they peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes.” His own people had rejected Him and it cost them peace. In fact, the name “Jerusalem” means, “The City of Peace.” Instead it has been attacked and plundered by the Assyrians, Bablonians, Greeks, Romans, Seljuk Turks, Crusaders, and the Ottoman Turks. In more recent years, it has been fought over by the Palestians and the Jews. Today, it is known as “the most contested piece of real estate on Earth.” Rather than being a city of peace, it is more like a city of weeping. Jesus wanted peace for Jerusalem; after all, He was a Jew. He knew it wouldn’t happen. In verse 43, he said, “For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side.” As he rode down the slope on the donkey into the city, he not only saw the city as it was, but as it would be 40 years into the future. In AD 70, the Romans brought destruction to the city along with great loss of life. The destruction was so great that all was left after Titus, the Roman General captured the city and demolished it was just a wall—what we know today as the Wailing Wall. The destruction didn’t just eliminate the city, it also eliminated the Jewish nation for close to 2000 years, scattering the people throughout the world. The people chose to not obey God and they did not seek Him. We find in John 12:43 that the chief rulers loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. But the nation’s greatest sin that brought their demise was the sin of rejecting Jesus…the long awaited Messiah. John 1:11 says, “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” They refused to recognize Him as their God. The cheering crowd at the triumphal entry would, just days later, yell “crucify Him.” But even through their cheering and praise, He could see their inward motives, the sinful and selfish hearts, that chose to reject Him as their Messiah.
I believe when Jesus looks at our world today, he weeps…just as he did over Jerusalem. Like Jerusalem, we have missed our opportunity for peace because we have rejected Him. We have thrown Him out of our schools and government. We worry more about political correctness than spiritual correctness. We are so caught up in making sure no one is offended that we don’t stop to think how God is offended with what we have done to the world He created. We choose to not obey God and, as a nation, we do not seek Him. We have become a people that would prefer the praise of men more so than the praise of God. We have turned our back on Him just as His own people did. As a result, our world is a mess. One only needs to turn the news on to realize just what a cesspool of sin covers the globe. People no longer know how to identify gender. They pass laws so their sin can be ok in the eyes of man…but it will never be ok in the eyes of God. People sitting in church on a regular Sunday, are gunned down. Terrorist attacks happen all over the world. Drug usages is at an epidemic. The concept of “until death us do part” in marriage has become more like “until you do something I don’t like.” Families are falling apart. Kids end up in foster care or as a juvenile delinquent. Yes, Satan is at work and the church has for too long sat in silence. How could He not weep over our world today? He weeps for the salvation of the lost. He weeps for the Christian who is too busy to spend time with Him. He weeps for those whose priorities are misplaced. He weeps for the churches who want to “water down” the gospel or preach only the “good parts” of the Bible. He longs for the church and Christians around the globe to be revived…to return to Him as their first love. If God would destroy Jerusalem for their rejection of Him, does America or any other county blindly think that God would not destroy it?
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. – 2 Chronicles 7:14
Are you, dear Christian, willing to humble yourself and pray and seek His face and turn from your wicked way so that God will hear you, forgive your sin, and heal our land?