Luke 19:41-44 (ESV)
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.”
Notice that He’s not crying over the cluelessness that will get Him crucified. He’s crying over what will come later.
Most of the people of Jerusalem will never recognize who Jesus is. Great suffering could be avoided, if only they had known on this day the things that make for peace.
The “things that make for peace” are the things of the gospel. Instead, most Jews will continue to look to throwing off Rome as their salvation. Christ is right there among them and they can’t see it.
“And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
In 70AD the Jews rebel against Rome and the rebellion is brutally crushed. The prophesy in this passage is specifically fulfilled when Roman soldiers build siege ramps to take Jerusalem and then level the place. The Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, records the horrors.
Indeed, though they had so great an army lying round about them, they bore a siege of five months, till some of Herod's chosen men ventured to get upon the wall, and fell into the city, … and upon the pouring in of the army, there was slaughter of vast multitudes everywhere, … so they were cut to pieces, … nor was there any mercy showed either to infants, or to the aged, or to the weaker sex, … they slew people of all ages, like madmen. – “The Wars of the Jews” Book 1, 18:2
I’d cry too.
The horror that befalls the Jews is their fault; they started the war. That’s no comfort to Jesus.
People mess up their lives. That applies to all of us; we’re all sinful.
But, by contemporary standards, some folks have done this more than others. That doesn’t matter to Jesus, and it shouldn’t matter to us. The challenge of every Christian is to learn to love the way God loves.
Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you God’s way of loving.
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