Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem


We are continuing our meditations of the last week before Christ’s crucifixion, and today’s thought is on Jesus coming to Jerusalem as Messiah.

41As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you" (Luke 19:41-44).

When a person rounds the bend on the top of the Mount of Olives, the view of the city of Jerusalem is one of the most spectacular in this world. From the top of the Mount of Olives, one can look down on the Temple Mount. At the sight of the city below Him, the Messiah of Israel looked upon the city and wept uncontrollably. To cry in the usual way, the Greek word dakruo would have been used, but in our passage above the Greek word klaio is used, the strongest word in the original Greek language. His body was heaving with intense sobbing and grief. Most of the people attending this moment expected the Mount of Olives to split into two (Zechariah 14:3), and all the angels appearing to execute judgment on Israel’s enemies. Instead, Christ sobbed while all the people cheered ecstatically.

The reason Jesus was loudly wailing is given to us in verse 44; Israel did not recognize the time of God's coming. As a nation, they did not see their need for a healer for their sin problem. Spiritual blindness concerning our need for a Savior from sin will keep us from receiving salvation. They wanted a king who would lead them into battle against the Romans. Jesus was peering into the future and saw the inevitable result of their resistance to the loving arms of the Savior. He saw the coming judgment of the nation with a Roman embankment set up and the stones of the Temple torn down one by one.

In A.D. 66, the Jews revolted against Roman control. Three years later, Titus, son of the Roman emperor Vespasian, was sent to crush the rebellion. The Romans set up a siege barricade around Jerusalem and starved the city into submission. In A.D. 70, they entered the weakened city and set fire to it. History records that Jesus' prophecy was fulfilled to the letter. When they entered Jerusalem more than six hundred thousand Jews were slaughtered, they set fire to the Temple and much of the city, before pulling down every stone of the Temple area to get at the gold that had melted from the temple structure.

This happened just as Jesus prophesied. The Lord foretold, “They will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” The Romans made an example of Jerusalem as a witness to other cities of what could happen to those that rebelled against Rome. The thought I leave with you today is that if we don’t recognize our need for a Savior for our sin-debt, we will bring disaster and judgment upon ourselves. Receive His grace today. Cry out to Him for His salvation. Keith Thomas

Taken from the series on the Book of Luke. Click on study 52, Luke 19:28-48, The King Comes to His Temple.