Theme: The Judgment Is Coming
In this week’s lessons, we look at a moving event in the life of Jesus just before his arrest and crucifixion, when he weeps for the city of Jerusalem over its rejection of Him.
Scripture: Luke 19:41, 42
The third thing is that not only is the Lord weeping because the people are precious to Him and because they didn’t know God, He’s also weeping because judgment is coming. The judgment He’s talking about here is the judgment that would fall upon Jerusalem when it rebelled against Rome, bringing the armies under Titus to destroy it in A. D. 70. Jesus foresaw all this. The words here accurately depict what will come. And yet, I think, in view of everything He said during this final week, that it wasn’t only the destruction of the city He had in mind. He saw that, of course. But He saw beyond that to a far greater destruction—a destruction that we normally describe as the final judgment.
Many of the things He said that final week look forward to that final judgment and warn men and women about it. His final great sermon, recorded in Matthew 24 and 25, depicts the final judgment. Later on, when He’s being led away to crucifixion, the women of the city are there, weeping. He tells them not to weep over what is happening, but to weep for themselves and their children.” He then describes the judgment: “In that day they will say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” The Lord had that in mind. He knew it was coming, and He wept for mankind.
We have made the points that we are precious to God, having been made in His image. However, in our failure to know God we have rebelled against Him and forfeited the blessings that come from that knowledge, bringing judgment. Jesus also knew that in a certain sense that judgment was not necessary. Oh, it was necessary in one sense—the God of all the earth must do right. God will judge sin. But in another sense it was unnecessary because the Redeemer had come. Salvation was present. He Himself was there. He was about to die, and yet they would not have Him.
Jesus spoke about it, saying that they did not know what would bring them peace, and they did not recognize the time of His coming. In His earthly ministry Jesus was God. He had walked the streets of their city. He had preached in the courtyard of their temple. He had healed their sick—and yet they wouldn’t have Him. They didn’t recognize it. What was the reason? Well, it was ignorance. They didn’t know. More than that, it was willful ignorance. They did not want to know. As the Apostle John, who was present on this occasion, wrote, “The verdict of mankind is this: The light has come into the world, but men and women love the darkness because their deeds are evil.” The coming of Jesus exposed their sin. Because of that, they turned from Him.
The Apostle Paul says the same thing in Romans 1. He speaks of the wrath of God being revealed from heaven, and he says it is being revealed upon all the godlessness and wickedness of men and women because having known God, they rejected the knowledge. God is clearly manifest to them, says Paul. His eternal power and His divine nature are seen in the things that are made, and yet they suppress the truth. And so, says Paul, they are without excuse. That’s what makes it so tragic. Do you understand how it builds? People are precious to Jesus Christ, but they do not know God and so are suffering for lack of knowledge. Such people hang under the judgment, which is certainly going to come. And yet, this judgment does not have to be experienced because Jesus Christ has come and died to save us from it.
What is the third reason Jesus weeps?
What language does Paul use in Romans 1 to describe people’s condition and their eventual end?
Application: Whom do you know who needs to be delivered from the wrath that is coming? How will you seek to make the truth of the gospel known to them?