Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” (Luke 19:41-44)
Weeping For A City
The Mount of Olives offered a panorama view of Jerusalem. As Jesus drew near the city of David His heart filled with the tragic sadness of its history, the present condition of blindness to the Son of God and the final destruction that was less than forty years away. It was from the Mount of Olives all of the city could be seen with the Temple the central figure in the many buildings that dotted the landscape. The city of Jerusalem was the Holy mountain of the Lord, the city of Righteousness, City of Truth; the place Daniel had opened his window and prayed toward. Jesus was overwhelmed by what He saw. It was in Jerusalem that God had placed the Temple to show the children of Abraham His glory. The heart of the people did not long rest in the mercy of the Lord but turned the Temple into a place of wickedness. When Jesus stood on the Mount of Olives the once beautiful city of God had been destroyed by the Babylonians, rebuilt and seven hundred years later under the guard of the Roman Empire. The Jews were looking for the promised Messiah but could not see the Christ in a man from Nazareth.
Destruction would come in 70 AD when the Roman army under Titus would level the city and destroy its inhabitants. It is said that so complete was the destruction that Titus had the Temple plowed under. Jesus wept because He knew what was coming. He cried tears of sorrow because while the city went about its busy day of the hustle and bustle of life judgment was coming. A terrible judgment was coming. His Father had longed for the city to see the glory of the Son of God but to no avail. They rejected the prophets of old and they were about to kill the Redeemer of the world. Albert Barnes wrote, “The national wickedness is too great; the cup is full: mercy is exhausted; and Jerusalem, with all her pride and splendor, the glory of her temple, and the pomp of her service, ‘must perish!’”
Jesus wept over a city. There are many reasons to sorrow in life. Generally it is connected with a death of a loved one. Jerusalem was a loved one of God. But it was more than a city. It was a story. One that began in the Garden of Eden and continues to this day. A story of the destructive hand of Satan. Looking down on Jerusalem the Lord could see all the people busy about their lives and many unaware of the coming judgment. Sin had filled the lives of all men and there was a need for a Savior. Jesus knew as He looked upon the city what price would be paid to redeem Jerusalem. That price would be paid outside the city gates like a lamb bearing the sins of the people. He wept for their sins, He wept for their sorrows soon to be found at the end of a Roman sword and He wept because what was to happen was the will of His Father – and nothing was going to change what would take place.
There is a need to weep over sin. The world has changed the view of sin but until we gain the proper insight of its tragedy tears will never come to our hearts. Jesus shows the proper attitude toward rejecting His Father. Sin is separation from the grace of God. It destroys and kills the soul. The result of sin is an eternal damnation of unbelievable horror. There may be a brief time of enjoyment in the arms of sin but the end is death – every time. Sin has killed our loved ones. The mark of sin will destroy many more lives. Jesus wept over sin and we can do no less when we see its tragic results. Godly sorrow is where repentance comes from and godly sorrow must always be at the forefront of how we view sin. We need to weep over sin. This sorrow must lead us to share the good news of salvation with a world given over to sin. Like Jesus looking upon Jerusalem with tears we should look around our community and weep over the lost souls that have no hope.
Weeping brings joy when a sinner turns from his way. Tears of sorrow are turned to tears of joy. May we have a heart of compassion for lost souls. Look deep into the lives of those we know and ask the question: “Is there joy?” Can we look upon them with happiness or with tears? Judgment is coming. It will be worse than what the Romans brought to the Jews. This judgment is final and its consequences are eternal. A great day is coming. Weep. Mourn. Sorrow over sin. Change hearts. Lead others to Christ. That is the greatest story ever told.
The real trouble with our times is not the multiplication of sinners; it is the disappearance of sin. (Etienne Gilson, Ensign, March, 1952)