And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it (Luke 19.41)
It is early in the Passion Week and our Lord is coming upon the great city Jerusalem. He has been hailed the King by worshipers (19.37-38) but he has also been questioned and interrogated by the Pharisees (19.39). But now he is upon the crest of the city and he is moved to tears.
Why? Well ultimately the tears are bound up in the upcoming destruction of Jerusalem which Jesus connects to their rejection of him as the promised Messiah (vv. 42-44).
But our tendency is to quickly turn from the Savior to the people and begin to think about AD 70 and the destruction as well as the ongoing demonstration of judgment for rejecting Christ. However we mustn’t too quickly turn away from the heavy truth in verse 41: Jesus wept over the city.
The mere fact that Jesus wept here shows the deeply emotional state of the Savior as he moves toward Jerusalem. He is not an indifferent Calvinist who’s theology is so suffocated that he cannot breath, see, and be moved. He is weeping over lost people, judgment, and disaster. We must not lift our heads up too quickly from the page lest we miss the Master’s heart. Think and ask yourself about how often (if ever) you have wept over your city.
Furthermore, he is weeping as he approaches his crucifixion. Jesus is not going to a reception here but an execution. We know that while the cries may have been “Hosanna!” (John 12.13) on the front end they will be “Crucify Him!” in a matter of days (Mark 15.14). They call him “King” now but in due time these same fickle crowds will declare passionately that “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19.15). But nevertheless Jesus weeps. It would seem that the fickleness and feigned worship seem to even further pierce the Savior’s heart. He indeed knows what is in man (John 2.24-25). He is weeping over the sinful hearts of his executioners. He is weeping because of who they are and what they are doing. He is weeping because of what they are missing. Let the Savior’s tears communicate the hidden mysteries of his perfect heart as it beats blood of holy compassion in his bosom.
Jesus’ patience, love, and emotion are so convicting and instructive to me. He had every right to yell at all of them for their rejection of him. However he pauses over the city and in plain view, he weeps. How unlike Christ am I that I do not even come close to this compassion, grief, emotion, or heartache? Furthermore he is not afraid to show his emotion in the plain eyes of the public. He does not fear men and their reactions of him. He just loves them and grieves over their rejection of him. O’ What a Savior!