Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem
As Jesus came near Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ‘If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Indeed, the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side. They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave within you one stone upon another; because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.’
During his earthly ministry Jesus experienced the whole gamut of human emotions, including a depth of sorrow that moved him to tears. Elsewhere in the gospel narrative we read of Jesus standing before the tomb of his friend Lazarus and weeping. Today we read of Jesus looking down upon Jerusalem and, once again, weeping. These two moments in which Jesus was moved to tears are, however, very different in nature.
It is an indisputable fact that every one of us will die in this world. Our human bodies will wear out and our souls will enter into the nearer presence of God. When this inevitable moment comes there is a strong possibility that it will be accompanied by the shedding of tears. But … that weeping will reflect our thanksgiving for the life that has ended, just as it will express our sorrow at the loss of human companionship and love. These are not the tears that we read of in today’s verses from Luke’s gospel.
Today Jesus’ final journey to Jerusalem is coming to an end. The King’s progress is fast approaching the time when his closest companions will weep as his human life ends on the cross. As he enters these final days and as he pauses to look upon the holy city his profound sense of sorrow is expressed in the shedding of tears. These tears do not mark the passing of an individual, instead they are tears that recognize the obduracy and the obstinacy of humanity.
God came to earth to bring reconciliation, new hope and new life to all. But, the self-obsession of the human race rejected that act of divine love. As Jesus makes his final journey into Jerusalem his tears make plain his understanding and acceptance of the horrors to come in order that the divine mission might be fulfilled.
Today and every day we are being invited to allow the realisation of God’s gracious love for each and every one of us. Let us pray that we might be ever-strengthened in our commitment to living a faithful life, a life that will justify Jesus’ faith in us.