Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Jesus Wept (More Than Once)

A passage in Luke jumped out at me, as if I've missed it every time I've read that Scripture. I've never noticed it before:

When the city came into view, he wept over it. "If you had only recognized this day, and everything that was good for you! But now it's too late. In the days ahead your enemies are going to bring up their heavy artillery and surround you, pressing in from every side. They'll smash you and your babies on the pavement. Not one stone will be left intact. All this because you didn't recognize and welcome God's personal visit." (19:41-44, The Message)

I remember reading about Jesus weeping over Lazarus's death. But this I don't remember. So it stood out to me as I read. I dug deeper. I wanted to know why Jesus was weeping over the city of Jerusalem during such a jubilant time.

Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, riding upon a colt. We're told in the Gospels that people were spreading their garments and leafy branches on the road as He approached. The garments represented submission to a dignitary. The leafy branches (and palm branches) were representative of victory.

And, along the way:

Running ahead and following after, they were calling out, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in God's name! Blessed the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in highest heaven!"  (Mark 11:9-10, The Message)

I'd always thought the crowd was welcoming Jesus the Savior since they were praising God for the miracles they'd witnessed. Not so for the entirety of the crowd. Most were welcoming Jesus, the one who they expected would lead them to victory over Rome. They weren't praising the One who would defeat death and offer them salvation.

So while the crowds cheered, Jesus overlooked the city and wept. He knew of their coming devastation. He wept because the city had been blinded from the Truth. He knew that in just a few days, those same people would reject Him and call for His death. He knew that Rome would utterly destroy them. His heart grieved for the blindness of the people He loved and came to save.

In this week before we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, I wonder: how many view Him as having been a good teacher, a prophet, a good man, but reject Him as Savior, Lord and Treasure? I wonder how many have heard the Gospel (salvation by grace through faith in Jesus alone) and still reject Him. I wonder how many are blinded to the Truth. And I wonder why I don't grieve as Jesus did over people's rejection of Him.

I pray this week that my heart will break for those who reject Him, and that I'll remember the urgency of sharing the Gospel of Grace and Love.

1 comment:

  1. Grieving over people's rejection of Him is a heavy weight to bear. People noticing that grief wins you enemies because it doesn't always look like weeping that is acceptable to the rejector. Once people realize you are weeping for something about which the rejector has no notion, rejectors reject compassion... Just like they did our Lord, and we share in his sufferings. But we do not carry His name in vain. Just like Him, we have greater purpose than meeting the blind's expectations. For that purpose, we can bear that same grief, and weep alongside of Him. With confidence, we can do justice and love mercy even knowing to some it is the stench of death.