Triumph and TearsLuke 19:41-44Theme: Grief.This week’s lessons encourage us to follow Christ’s example in weeping for the lost. LessonWe might think that we cannot come to Jesus without the proper degree of repentance. But he is not asking for any special degree of repentance. He is merely asking you to come. You might delay because you cannot guarantee that you will be a great Christian in the years ahead. Jesus is not asking you to promise that. He will give you the strength to be what he wants you to be. All he is asking you to do is come. Isn’t there something in this picture of the weeping Christ sufficient to melt your own heart, bring you to tears, and draw you to him?
Why was Jesus crying? He was weeping for Jerusalem. He loved the city. This was Zion, the city of God. This was a city that had been given a great destiny by God, which, nevertheless, had killed the prophets and was now about to kill him, and was going to be destroyed. He was touched by the fate of this city, so he wept for it. Jesus is not unconcerned by those things that press upon all of us as we think about our nation, our cities, and our culture. He saw what was coming to Jerusalem, and he wept for its destruction.
The historian Josephus wrote about the fall of Jerusalem and he did so graphically. He explained how hunger overcame the populous. Famine was rampant in the walls. People were dying on the streets. At first they buried the dead, but eventually those who survived were too weak even to bury the corpses. They disposed of them by throwing them over the walls where they rotted in the valley below. Even the general of the opposing armies, Titus, stood outside the walls of the city and looked upon the rotting corpses, and cried over Jerusalem. When Jerusalem was finally overthrown by the Roman armies, those who were left were crucified on the roads leading outside the city as far as one could see. The Romans built so many crosses to crucify the remaining defenders that they ran out of wood. It was tragic. That was why Jesus was weeping over the city.
Yet tragic as that was, it was not the substance or even the center of Christ’s concern. What concerned him most was the willful ignorance of the people of the day as they turned away from him. The people had chosen instead to follow their own path of sin.
When Paul wrote the first chapter of Romans he was not thinking of the Jewish nation; he was thinking largely of the pagan culture that he knew, the culture of Rome and Greece and other places. But what he actually wrote was an indictment of humanity as a whole, one that applies backward to the fall of Jerusalem and its defenders as well. In Romans 1 Paul states that people choose not to know God. They choose to be willfully ignorant of divine things. They suppress the truth, turn from the God of truth, and instead pursue the way of their own making.
What does Jesus want from us? Conversely, what mistaken ideas do we get about what we think he wants from us?
What concerned Jesus even more than the destruction of Jerusalem?
Further StudyStudy Paul’s teaching in Romans 1 on man’s rejection of God.
HistoryThe city of Jerusalem was destroyed in a.d. 70 under the Roman general Titus.