************ Sermon on Luke 19:41 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on March 29, 2015
"Jesus Wept Over Jerusalem"
While the crowd was rejoicing, Jesus was weeping! Do you remember how Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus (Jn 11:35)? At that time, Jesus was deeply moved in spirit and troubled; that is, it was a quiet weeping. But today we hear a loud lamentation like one mourning over the dead. In doing this, Jesus was like the Prophet Jeremiah who wept bitterly over the destruction of Jerusalem (cf Jer 9:1ff).
The question we want to ask on this Palm Sunday: Why was Jesus weeping while the crowd was rejoicing?
I Jesus Received as King
A Two weeks ago we looked at the Obedient Servant of Isaiah 50. We said He obediently set His face like flint to go to Jerusalem. We see the start of the trip in Luke 9:51. Ten chapters later He finally arrives in Jerusalem.
But Jesus is not the only one going to Jerusalem. As the time approaches, crowds of Jewish pilgrims are on their way to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.
B In preparation for this message, I read through the Gospel of Luke. It struck me that up to this point in time Jesus has pretty well hidden Who He is and what He does (Lk 4:35,41; 5:14; 8:56; 9:21,35; 9:45; 18:34). But in today's Scripture reading we see Jesus is no longer concealing His identity.
We know from their quotes that the crowd of disciples greeting Jesus on Palm Sunday were well acquainted with the Old Testament Scriptures. By riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, an Old Testament sign of royalty (1 Kings 1:33,44), they knew Jesus was revealing Himself to them as King. And by riding on a colt, as foretold by Zechariah, Jesus further reveals Himself to them as the promised King (Zech 9:9).
Therefore, we are not surprised that the crowd of disciples receives Jesus as King by spreading cloaks on the road. They also shout the words of Psalm 118 with a slight change. The psalmist says, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord" (Ps 118:26). Luke records that they say, "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord." Jesus is acknowledged as King. And, Jesus is acknowledged as having God's blessing.
The crowd of disciples goes on to say, "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest" (Lk 19:38). This is almost identical to what the angels sang on Christmas Day. Men are now singing the song of the angels. Heaven is coming to earth. The result is covenant peace for the people and glory for God.
This is the moment for which the Jewish people have been waiting for centuries. Praying for centuries. Hoping for centuries. Because the King of the Jews is entering Jerusalem. But not just any king. I am sure you realize that the Hebrew title for this is Messiah. The Messiah is coming.
C The Pharisees do not like this, of course. They do not agree with Jesus being welcomed as King and Messiah. Some of the Pharisees in the crowd call on Jesus to rebuke the acclamations of His disciples, but Jesus refuses. In fulfilment of Scripture, it is important that He be welcomed as King and Messiah. Furthermore, if the crowd of disciples remain silent, says Jesus, then the very stones themselves will cry out words of welcome (Lk 19:40).
D This brings us to the words of our text. We see that while the crowd of disciples was rejoicing, Jesus was weeping!
(Lk 19:41) As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it ...Why did Jesus cry? Because "you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you" (Lk 19:44).
The Greek word for "coming" in verse 44 is very descriptive. It is the same word used to denote an inspection from a visiting official.
In November of 2013 College of the Sequoias was informed that its accreditation was in question. In October of 2014 the Accrediting Commission did a follow-up visit. What would have happened if the President, the faculty, the staff, and the students of COS ignored the commission and -- using the language of Luke -- did not recognize the time of its coming? COS would never have had it accreditation reaffirmed. You don't ever ignore the coming of a high-ranking official.Yet, says Jesus, that is exactly what happened with His coming to Jerusalem. Jesus was met with cheers and Hosannas on the part of the crowd of disciples; but this was not the case with the city and people of Jerusalem. Jesus wept because they did not recognize the time of God's coming.
Coming to Jerusalem, of course, is more than just a high-ranking official: "you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you" (Lk 19:44). Jesus comes as God's representative. More than that, He comes as Almighty God, as Messiah, as the Son of God, as God Himself. But the people of Jerusalem, including the Jewish religious leaders, refuse to recognize Him for Who He is.
II Jesus Wept as He Looked Back
A As Jesus approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it. I picture Jesus standing on a hilltop overlooking the city. No matter where He looked -- whether back, within, around, or ahead -- Jesus found reason for weeping.
First, Jesus saw reason for weeping as He looked back. I told you I read through the Gospel of Luke. Remember what happened at Nazareth? The people of Nazareth rejected Jesus' claim to be the Servant of the Lord. In fact, they were so furious with what Jesus said that they wanted to throw Him off the brow of the hill on which the town was built (Lk 4:14-30).
Jesus wept because His friends and neighbors from Nazareth -- some of whom came to Jerusalem for the Passover -- did not recognize the time of God's coming.
B Palm Sunday is not the only time we hear Jesus weeping and lamenting over Jerusalem.
(Lk 13:34-35) "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! (35) Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'"
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem ..." Have you ever noticed that when God wants someone's attention, He mentions their name twice? God said Abraham's name twice to stop him from killing Isaac (Gen 22:11). God said Jacob's name twice and called him to go to Egypt (Gen 46:2). God said Moses' name twice and spoke to him from the burning bush (Ex 3:4). God said Samuel's name twice and gave him a message for Eli the priest (1 Sam 3). Jesus said Martha's name twice and told her to be more like Mary (Lk 10:41). Jesus said Peter's name twice and warned him about falling away (Lk 22:31). Jesus said Saul's name twice and stopped the persecution of the church (Acts 9:4). "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem ..." Telling us what? Telling us Jesus wants their attention. Telling us Jesus has something very important to say.
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you ..." (Lk 13:34). Jerusalem stoned and killed the prophets rather than listen to them and repent at their words. And how they treated the prophets is how they treated Jesus. For instance, when Jesus healed a paralytic, the Pharisees and teachers of the law accused Him of blasphemy (Lk 5:21). When Jesus healed the man with the shriveled hand on the Sabbath, they were furious and started to plot against Him (Lk 6:11; 11:53). By Palm Sunday they were trying to kill Him (Lk 19:47).
If you look in your Bible you will see "The Parable of the Ten Minas" just before the account of Palm Sunday (Lk 19:11-27). A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king. But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, "We don't want this man to be our king." This is a parable about Jesus and His reception. Jesus is the King; the subjects are the people and leaders of Jerusalem who have rejected Him.
Jesus wept because Jerusalem and the spiritual leaders of Israel did not recognize the time of God's coming.
III Jesus Wept as He Looked Within
As Jesus approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it. He wept because of what He saw within hearts. He saw spiritual ignorance. He saw spiritual blindness.
His disciples, for instance, argued among themselves as to which of them would be the greatest in the Kingdom (Lk 9:46ff).
Martha was upset that Mary sat down and listened to Jesus rather than continue to look after their guests (Lk 10:38ff).
The Pharisees were so concerned about cleaning the outside of the cup and dish while inside they were full of greed and wickedness. They made sure they gave God a tenth of their crops but neglected justice and the love of God (Lk 1137ff).
Jesus wept because this kind of spiritual ignorance and spiritual blindness kept people from recognizing the time of God's coming.
IV Jesus Wept as He Looked Around
As Jesus approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it. He wept as He looked around. Right in front of Him was the Temple. He wept over all the religious activity that went on there because it was mostly empty and meaningless.
What is the first thing Jesus did after He wept over Jerusalem? He went to the Temple and cleared it of those who were selling (Lk 19:45ff). The Temple had become a den of thieves, and the religious leaders were out to kill Him. The city was filled with pilgrims about to celebrate the Passover, but the hearts of the people were heavy with sin and life's burdens (cf Lk 11:46).
Jesus wept over Jerusalem because the emptiness of religious activity kept the people from recognizing the time of God's coming.
V Jesus Wept as He Looked Ahead
A As Jesus approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it as He looked ahead.
Jesus knew Judas was going to betray Him. Jesus knew Peter was going to deny Him. Jesus knew the crowds would shout for His crucifixion. Jesus knew the suffering and pain that awaited Him from the soldiers and Herod and Pilate. Why did they do this? Because none of them recognized the time of God's coming.
B Looking further ahead, Jesus wept as He saw the terrible judgment that was coming to the nation, the city, and the Temple. In A.D. 70, the Romans would come and, after a siege of 143 days, kill six hundred thousand Jews, take thousands more captive, and then destroy the Temple and the city. Why did this all happen? Because the people did not recognize the time of God's coming.
VI The Absence of Peace
A As Jesus approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it. No matter where Jesus looked, He found cause for weeping. Whether He looked back, within, around, or ahead He saw people who did not recognize the time of God's coming. They should have known Who He was, for God had given them His Word and prophets and sent messengers to prepare the way.
Jesus wept because in rejecting Jesus none of them will know peace (Lk 19:42). We all know that our Middle-East policy is a real mess right now. In Iraq, we are allies with Iran in the fight against the Islamic State. In Yemen, we support those opposed to Iran. But Jesus is NOT talking about elusive peace among nations. Jesus is talking about peace with God. Jesus is talking about being right with God.
In not recognizing Jesus, Jerusalem has turned its back on peace. Because it is only in Jesus that they can have peace with God. It is only in the cross and the grave of Christ that they can be right with God and heirs to life everlasting.
Jesus wept over Jerusalem because she is forever lost. Jesus wept over Jerusalem because what awaits her is eternity in hell. Jesus wept over Jerusalem because she did not know Him, the Lord of life.
B Jesus wept this past week at the meeting of Classis. One of the churches asked for the advice of the brothers on a discipline case. A young man had joined the church by professing Christ. But then he started to question his faith. He questioned the atonement of Christ. He questioned the deity of Christ. He questioned most of the essential doctrines of the faith. He joined a Jewish synagogue and turned His back on Christ. Classis concurred with the consistory that the young man was apostate. Like the people of Jerusalem, he does not recognize the time of God's coming. Like the people of Jerusalem, unless he repents, he is forever lost and will not know peace.
C We know that just as He wept over Jerusalem so Jesus weeps over every lost soul that is exiled to hell's eternity. He weeps that people continue to be ignorant of what makes for peace. He weeps that people still do not recognize the time of God's coming.
Does Jesus weep over you as well? Have you, by grace, repented of your sin and believe in Jesus? Do you know and experience the peace that comes from having a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ? If your answer is "No" then Jesus is weeping over you even as He wept over Jerusalem. However, if your answer, by grace, is "Yes" then there is much rejoicing among heaven's angels before the throne.
Unless you are washed by the blood of the Lamb, congregation, Jesus is weeping over you. Unless, by the Spirit, you have given your life and your heart to Him, Jesus is weeping over you. Unless you know Jesus as Savior and Lord, He is weeping over you.
Does Christ have to weep over any of us like He wept over Jerusalem?
Let me end by echoing the words of the song we will be singing in a few moments:
Out of my bondage, sorrow and night,We come to Jesus NOT on our own but only because of God's grace and God's Spirit. My prayer is that we all, by God's grace and Spirit, will recognize the time of God's coming. My prayer is that we all, by God's grace and Spirit, will come to Jesus and experience peace.
Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come.
Into Thy freedom, gladness and light,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of my sickness into They health,
Out of my want and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
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