October 29, 2014
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
It is recorded of Jesus in Luke 19:41 and 42:
Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you
had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make
for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.”
Why did Jesus cry over Jerusalem? He knew what would happen when they rejected Him. On that Palm Sunday, He was offering Himself to them as “…Messiah the Prince…” (Daniel 9:25). A prince – according to Webster’s New World Dictionary – is “someone who is of the royal family but not yet reigning.” Jesus will someday reign with the title given in Revelation 19:16, “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” But Jesus was not accepted by the Jewish leaders as King. John wrote in John 1:11, “He came to His own [people], and His own did not receive Him.” The Jews rejected Him with the awful words of Matthew 27:25, “His blood be on us, and on our children.”
And Jesus knew what that rejection would mean – Luke 19:43, 44:
“…the days will come upon you when your enemies will build an em-
bankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side,
and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they
will not leave in you one stone upon another because you did not know
the time of your visitation.”
The Jewish revolt against their Roman overlords began in AD 66 and continued for seven years until the last stronghold of the rebel Jews, Masada, was taken in May, AD 73. Three years earlier, the Roman general Titus – later to become emperor – defeated the Jewish opposition, killing tens of thousands, and setting fire that consumed the city – including the Temple and Herod’s palace. All that was left was smoldering ruins.
Jesus had prophesied that “…they will not leave in you one stone upon another….” (Luke 19:44). In his book, Tells, Tombs and Treasure, Bob Boyd wrote (p. 205),
In many temples, stones were held togther by gold or silver bars. The bars
where bent and fitted into the holes and grooves…in…[the] stone block….The
soldiers knew of this method of construction. They also knew that “to the
victor belongs the spoils.” To get to this precious metal, they literally took
each stone from off top the other. The prediction of Christ regarding the
destruction of the Temple could well have been brought about in this manner.
It is no wonder Jesus cried when He saw from the Mount of Olives the Holy City laid out before Him. It was the people for whom He wept – people with eternal souls who would suffer forever without saving faith in Him! If it was people – redeemed, cleansed and reconciled to the Father – who could give Jesus Christ “…joy…set before Him [to] endure…the cross, despising the shame…” (Hebrews 12:2), then it was people – lost and condemned – who caused His tears!
Paul also had the heart of God for people. He said in Romans 10:1, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.” He even confessed in Romans 9:2 through 4:
…I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I
myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to
the flesh, who are Israelites….
John Knox (1514 to 1572) prayed, “Give me Scotland, or I die.” His was the passionate plea of a man willing to die for the sake of the salvation of his countrymen.
Do you have that kind of concern for people? Has God given you charge of a city, a town, a neighborhood of men, women and children with eternal souls in need of the Savior? Are you aware that if they reject what Jesus accomplished on the cross for them – paying for their sins with His own blood – they will go to hell? Will you look over your ‘Jerusalem’ and cry? Will you let Jesus Cry Through You?