BCP Trinity 10 - Luke 19:41-47a. 15th August 2004
Luke 19:41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. 43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. 45 And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; 46 Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves. 47 And he taught daily in the temple.
When Wembley Stadium was demolished it provoked emotions for many people who had memories associated with it. The 1966 World Cup Final, the "Matthew's" FA Cup Final, or perhaps some people would have seen 'their' team play at Wembley. It was perceived as the the centre of English football.
Jerusalem was the centre of the Jewish religion. Jesus was approaching it for the final Passover that He would celebrate. He had just entered the city on a donkey to cheering crowds but now he was sad.
In this passage we see two examples of Jesus showing emotions of sadness and anger, confirming his humanity. We may think of Jesus as being stoic, facing up to things with a British stiff upper lip. But he wasn't British and displayed many different emotions throughout his life.
Jesus wept over Jerusalem. Why? Because He had come primarily to save the Jewish people. In Jerusalem, the focus of their religious life during the major religious festival in which they celebrated their deliverance from slavery, they would reject Jesus and crucify Him. They did this because they were spiritually blind, 42b, but now they are hid from thine eyes.
We not only observe the emotion of Jesus in crying for Jerusalem, we can also notice his compassion, foreknowlege, and selflessness.
Many facing certain death would be concerned about their own situation, Jesus was concerned about the very people who conspired against Him, who unjustly sentenced Him to a horrific death and even those who performed the hideous act.
Jesus offers forgiveness to everyone who turns to Him.
43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
Jesus words about the destruction of Jerusalem in verses 43-44 were fulfilled in A.D. 70. The Romans under Titus laid siege to and completely destroyed Jerusalem, its inhabitants and the temple buildings. There were few if any Christians there because they knew of Jesus' words here and in Chapter 21. The Christians escaped from Jerusalem before, or during its siege. Many of them went across the River Jordan to a town called Pella.
This was the judgement of God because of the rejection of His only Son. If anyone disobeys or rejects God there will be judgement. It is part of God's nature to be just and to punish sin. God offers a way out, but we have to believe and trust in Him.
This pattern will be repeated when Jesus returns to judge the living and the dead. Those who have rejected Jesus will have to bear the condemnation that this brings and be separated from God forever. Christians will not be condemned, Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. We can look forward to being with God forever, unaffected by sin and death, with perfect resurrection bodies.
To the Jews the temple was the place where God lived, if indeed you could say that God can be confined in this way. There God met man. Yet it also recognised that God is holy, perfect, and therefore different to and separated from people.
The temple was the place where sacrifices were offered to pay the price for the sins of God's people. This enabled God to meet with man. It was the place where God was worshipped and prayer was offered to him.
But in Jesus day it was a centre of commerce. Jesus called it a "den of thieves". It wasn't a house of God it was a house of money making. Cattle, sheep and doves used as sacrifices were sold to Jews who travelled distances and couldn't bring their own animals. Jews aged over 20 had to pay the Temple Tax. This was paid in Tyrian coins which had a high silver content. People coming with coins from many other countries had them exchanged. All of these activities made money for the traders.
The misuse of the temple was denounced by Jesus who purified it by driving out the animals and the merchants. It can almost symbolise the way that Jesus needs to come into our lives to drive out what is wrong and prevents us from drawing close to and worshipping God. The fact that Jesus was able to do this shows that He is equipped to judge and to condemn what is not of God. His anger shows that it is not necessarily wrong to be angry. However, sometimes when we are angry our indignation cannot be compared to the righteous indignation of Jesus. It may be due to our own pride or impatience.
In this passage we see the humanity of our Lord in his emotions The divinity of our Lord in His foreknowledge and His authority to judge. We are called to share His emotions, to weep for a world that has rejected Him. To show compassion by sharing the love of Jesus in thought, word and deed. To recognise who Jesus is, God and man, sent to earth to save people. And to continue devote our lives to Him who is the only one able to save us.