“And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ”Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.””
It’s all too easy, in today’s action movie culture, to pick sides and watch for a winner. There was a stage my kids went through when a good guy would say a bad word or maybe the bad guy would help somebody and one of them would ask “Who is the bad guy?”
Jesus isn’t against Jerusalem and the people there just because they reject Him. While it does hurt Him that they don’t listen and agree with what He has said, that doesn’t make Him hate them. He knows that He is right and true. His confidence in the truth doesn’t depend on all of them going along with Him.
This is such a picture of humble disagreement. Can we endure people resisting and not listening to us with such grace?
Jesus is also weeping because He has seen the future of Jerusalem. Around 67 AD, the city was put under siege and thousands of Jewish people lost their lives to Rome. That’s when Josephus said that the temple burned with such heat that the gold melted and flowed out of the temple onto the ground.
Jesus isn’t just sad that He lost the argument with Jerusalem, but He’s upset about the consequences of their choices. There are so many paths that they can choose that would lead to peace with God, but they aren’t taking any of them.
In terms of prophecy, somebody was going to turn Jesus over to be crucified even if the whole city had turned to follow Him. It’s not like that was going to change, but Oh to follow Him! To be one of the masses that knew that He was the Lord while He was still there in front of them!
That is where we even are today. Life following Jesus is so much better than life without. To confess this truth and to seek out every day as a chance to express it is so much more filled than to wonder or to deny His goodness.
That is why He wept. He loved those people (and us!) so much that it was painful to see them choose the wrong path. It is a burden He is quick to forgive the moment we take Him seriously and begin to seek Him and believe in His peace.
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