By Joe Chesser
Every time I read the gospels, I am more impressed with both the humanity and deity of Jesus. Of course, that’s why they were written, to help us get to know Jesus better and better, and thereby strengthening our faith and leading us to eternal life with Him (John 20:30-31). But the particular thing about Jesus that caught my attention this time is found in Luke19:41-42:
“As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said,
‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace –
but now it is hidden from your eyes.’”
There is another more familiar verse about Jesus weeping found in John 11. On that occasion, the cause of Jesus’ tears was the death of a dear friend. He loved Lazarus and his sisters, and he shared tears of compassion with Mary and Martha at Lazarus’ death. But he knew those tears would be short lived. He knew that in just a matter of moments the tears would turn to laughter and praise to God when He would call to His friend, “Lazarus, come out!”
However, in Luke 19 Jesus’ tears were different. On this occasion his compassion and weeping for the city of Jerusalem were not going to end in laughter and praise. Unlike the situation with Lazarus, there was nothing Jesus could do to turn His weeping into joy. His deity wouldn’t allow it. As a whole, the people of Jerusalem were spiritually hard-hearted. He would have loved to have gathered them together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but they refused (Luke 13:34). They were unwilling to accept His help, even with their greatest needs. Oh how He wanted to! He longed with all His heart to help. But all He could do was weep for them. Even though He could see the ugly destruction that lay ahead of them and even though He had the power to protect them from that suffering, in the end all He could do was weep.
Jesus didn’t love Lazarus any more than He loved the people of Jerusalem. He wept for both. Jesus doesn’t love any person more than any other person. God showed how much He loves the entire world by sending Jesus to the cross (John 3:16). For some, Jesus’ love and compassion will result in eternal life. But for most, His love and compassion will result in death and destruction (Matthew 7:14). The difference is not Jesus. The difference is us. Lazarus loved Jesus, believed in Jesus, followed Jesus. Jesus’ tears for him ended in blessings. On the other hand, Jerusalem did not believe in or love or follow Jesus. His tears for them are the most heart-breaking of all. They were tears about what could have been, yet in the end were tears without hope.
Jesus’ compassion for people is evident in His tears. He loves us more than we can know. Jerusalem had the opportunity to believe in and follow Jesus, but they were unwilling to do so. My prayer is that you will accept His offers of help by believing in Him, loving Him and obeying Him. You don’t want His tears to be hopeless.
- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org