The Tears of Jesus (Part 1)

And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” (Luke 19:41-44 ESV).

Perhaps the most well-known passage when we see Jesus weep is found at the tomb of his dear friend, Lazarus (cf. John 11:35). While we cannot know why Jesus wept at this moment, we certainly know the root of his grief and the subsequent tears we find in our reading today. This event took place on what we call “Palm Sunday” today. This is the day in the church year when traditionally we mark the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem for the last week of his life. As he rode into town on the humble beast, Jesus was not oblivious to what was about to happen to him. His enemies were going to get the upper hand, and he would be rejected and crucified. And within a generation the city would be obliterated.

God was visiting them in Jesus, his Son (cf. John 1:11). But they did not know the time of their visitation. So they stumbled over the stumbling stone. The builders rejected the stone and threw it away. Jesus saw this coming. Looking at the magnificent temple, the thousands of people dutifully marking Passover with their pilgrimage to the Holy City, Jesus wept over their blindness and the impending misery of Jerusalem.

He was overcome with grief. He wept. I would call these tears those of sovereign mercy. The effect they should have on us is to make us stand in awe before Him and treasure him above all others and worship him as our merciful Sovereign. And when we have seen the beauty of his mercy, we become merciful with him and like him and for his glory.

So, today let’s worship Christ, admiring His tender sovereignty. What makes Christ so admirable and so different than all other persons is that he unites in himself so many qualities that in other people are contrary to each other. We can imagine supreme sovereignty, and we can imagine tenderhearted mercy. But to whom do we look to combine, in perfect proportion, merciful sovereignty and sovereign mercy? We look to Jesus. No other religious or political contender even comes close. This is our starting point for the next few days.