Jesus was Deeply Moved over Jerusalem

Jesus was Deeply Moved over Jerusalem

Jesus was Deeply Moved over Jerusalem. 

“When Jesus caught sight of the city, He burst into tears with uncontrollable weeping (klaio)  over Jerusalem, saying, ‘If only you could recognize that this day peace is within your reach! But you cannot see it. For the day is soon coming when your enemies will surround you, pressing you in on every side. They will throw up ramparts. They will crush you to pieces, and your children too! And when they leave, your city will be totally destroyed. Since you would not recognize God’s day of visitation, your day of devastation is coming!'” (Luke 19:41-44).

Klaio (klay-oh) = a Greek verb for sobs of grief, as those who mourn for the dead; to wail, with emphasis on audible noise accompanying the weeping; to grieve in a heart-wrenching way that others can easily hear; internal pain which is outwardly visible; used to describe “professional mourners” who wailed loudly after someone has died.

This, Jesus’ second lament over Jerusalem, was extremely intense and very public. Right on the heels of the joyous Palm Sunday entrance, when everyone else is filling the air with praise and exultation, Jesus quickly shifted into an entirely different mood. He saw Jerusalem, His beloved city, and He began to weep loudly, unabashedly expressing his grief over the future of Jerusalem. Jerusalem, the historical home of King David, the greatest king in the history of Israel; the spiritual capital of Israel housing the Temple, the very dwelling place of God on earth; known in Hebrew Scriptures as being built on Mt. Moriah and known as Mt. Zion; the world-famous city that symbolized the nation of Israel; the centerpiece of God’s Chosen People; Israel’s largest city and its political center. Jesus loved Jerusalem, and felt a special attachment to it. Jerusalem means “foundation of peace,” and Jesus looked ahead and saw the irony of that name.  He was able to foretell the tragedy that would soon befall the city and everyone living within its walls.

It’s no wonder Jesus was so deeply moved. Here is what He saw in His vivid, inspired imagination: That in 66 AD the Jews would rebel against Roman occupation. After three years of fighting, the Roman Emperor would send his son Titus to squelch the rebellion. In 70 AD the Roman soldiers were able to break through the northern wall of Jerusalem, but they weren’t able to get any further into the city. So the Romans laid siege, completely surrounding Jerusalem. No one entered, and no one exited. To keep warm during the siege, the soldiers made a wasteland of the Mount of Olives, cutting down every one of those historic olive trees. The residents of the city were not able to get any food during the siege, so starvation became commonplace in the city. The Jews had to endure a severe famine, and many thousands died. The Romans wouldn’t allow anyone to bury the dead bodies outside the city, so they had no choice but to throw the corpses over the city walls, creating a horrific mound of dead bodies at the base of all the walls of the city. The Romans were able to construct catapults to hurl large stones at the city walls, as well as burning debris over the walls. It didn’t take long for the entire city to be on set ablaze. There was nothing the Jews could do as the city became weakened and vulnerable. The Romans showed no mercy as they stormed the city, burning down the Temple and all the homes. They plundered whatever had value, and they massacred all the women, children and men they saw. The estimated number of Jews slaughtered by the Romans was at a minimum 600,000 and as many as a million. The Romans also took almost 100,000 Jews captive. Jerusalem, the shining light on a hill, became a disaster site.

Jesus was literally weeping and wailing, because He saw all this happening in the near future of Jerusalem. He was heartbroken that His Father’s Chosen People, Jesus’ extended family, would have to experience such horrible, unspeakable suffering. Jesus openly mourned the destiny of the holy city. He had a monumental burden for the place and its people. After all, the Chosen People was His first mission sent by the Father, and it would come to this? It tore Jesus apart to see the destruction of Jerusalem, and He couldn’t keep those emotions inside.

When Jesus said in this passage from Luke that the people of Jerusalem didn’t recognize the moment of the “visitation,” it seems that He was mourning over the rejection He was experiencing in His mission to the city, His desire to bring peace and salvation to the people. He knew the spiritual leaders had all rejected the Prince of Peace, and so they had no idea how to achieve the peace they all needed so desperately. He knew this was the beginning of the end for Jerusalem. Luke records soon after His lament that “the chief priests and the scribes, in company with leading citizens, were trying to do away with Him.” (Luke 19:48). The religious establishment, the head priests, the teachers of Torah, the experts of the law, the religious scholars of the day, as well as the prominent citizens in the city… all were looking for a way to get rid of Jesus. Certainly this seemingly universal rejection of Jesus in Jerusalem contributed to His deep grief.