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)
Jesus Weeps Over Jerusalem
The Son of God cried. Robertson’s Word Pictures suggests the weeping was an audible cry and that Jesus bursts into tears. When Jesus heard of the death of His friend Lazarus He wept. God’s Son experienced the feelings and emotions of sorrow and visibly testified of His humanity. Standing before the great city Jerusalem, the Lord shed tears of grief for the calamity that would come in less than four decades. The city of God was an ancient city. Abram was blessed by Melchizedek who was king of Salem that would later being taken by David from the Jebusites. Solomon took Jerusalem to its zenith with the Temple of God and the glory of Israel encapsulated by the city. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon laid waste the city in accordance with the will of God in 586 B.C. The city would be rebuilt with the help of Ezra and Nehemiah and during the days of Jesus return to a city of significance. What Jesus saw that day on the ridge of Olivet was the sad future of a city that could not see the destruction that awaited them. He saw the real Jerusalem filled with hypocrisy, apostasy, rebellion as God’s people struggled to understand His will. Jesus knew what they were going to do to Him in a very short time. He wept because He saw the future of Jerusalem where total destruction would come by the hand of the Romans and the once beautiful city of God would be plowed under with blood. Jesus wept.
Jesus wept over the city because they could not see that He was the Son of God. The people of God dismissed the man from Nazareth as a carpenter’s son. They refused to acknowledge the power of His miracles, the breadth of His teaching and the evidence of His Messiahship. These were His people. He was one of them and His own people rejected Him. They could not find peace because they could not see Jesus as God’s Son. It saddened Jesus deeply to see the sad plight of men ignorant of what was clearly shown to them running headlong into their own destruction. He speaks of the days when their enemies will build embankments around them surrounding them and closing in to destroy them. Jerusalem would be leveled. Jesus said the city would be flattened with no stone left upon another. The sad part was the Son of God knew what was coming and Jerusalem did not. They could have if they would have listened to Him but they refused. Jesus wept because of the pain and sorrow that was coming.
Through a series of events leading up to 70 A.D. the city of Jerusalem was in deep peril. After the insurrections by the Jews killing many of the Roman army, Vespasian sent his son Titus to end the rebellion. Arriving in February it only took the Romans seven months to end the siege and the destruction of Jerusalem began. The city was destroyed and Titus caused a plow to destroy the place where the Temple stood. Untold thousands were slaughtered as the massacre of the city was full. Jesus had stood on the hill outside of Jerusalem years before weeping at what was now coming to pass. He knew the destruction would be full. The city would never again be the place of God. Rejecting Jesus was the sorrow the Lord beheld that day when this great city had the Son of God in their presence but they could not see Him.
Jesus wept over Jerusalem because of what sin had brought to the world. He saw deeper than the façade of buildings, streets and walls. Looking at the hearts of men the Lord could see the fragile condition of men enslaved by sin and the coming destruction. The heart of the Lord was filled with compassion at the lives that would be lost because of sin. A lesson for the children of God is to see the cost of sin in the lives of those who do not know God and refuse to obey the gospel of Jesus Christ. A day of reckoning is coming and so many are unaware of the destruction. Like Jerusalem, they go about their lives with no conscious of the consequences of their rejection of Jesus as the Son of God. Every day people die outside of Christ. How terribly sad and tragic. The people of God should weep at the cost of sin and turn their hearts into action to save those who are lost. Many will reject the plea of salvation but all effort must be made to save the few. Stand with Jesus on Olivet and weep for the souls of men. Put forth the hand of courage to save the hearts of the few who will hear and obey the grace of a loving Father. Weep but act.