STRENGTH FOR THE WEEK: Flood Church’s Weekly Devotional
SERIES 1: The Voice of God
A Grieving Voice
“As Jesus approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes”. (Luke 19:41-42)
We are not in peacetime. This is easy to forget in our enjoyment of quiet moments. It is even near impossible to remember in our moments of celebration. Jesus was coming from out of town, from the rural countryside where the quietness of nature was soothing. To walk with him there was to have uninterrupted moments with him in a place far from the noise of the crowd and the city. To be with him there was to have a “quiet time”, even to the point of forgetting that mankind is at war with God. But Jesus had his eyes set elsewhere.
He arrived in Jerusalem riding a donkey. The people who came into town with him were in a frenzy of celebration, laying their coats down on the road for him to ride on a carpet, waving palm leaves in the air like it was a pride march, and shouting “Hosanna” like they were returning home with a victory from the field of battle to declare to their loved ones that the war was won and the war was over. To walk with Jesus here was to have a song of praise on your lips in the midst of the noisome congregation. To be with him here was to get your praise on and to declare the victory, even to the point of forgetting that the world rejoices at every good thing God brings except himself. But Jesus had his heart set elsewhere.
With the reflective quietness of the countryside behind him and the festive noise of the city before him, Jesus began to weep. He wept for Jerusalem because he could see its people as they really were. Jerusalem was a city at war with itself and at war with its God. To the people of Jerusalem, God was a means to an end, a tool you pick up to meet a specific need and put down when you are done with it. To them, God was useful, not beautiful. To the leaders of Jerusalem, God was a means of control, a chair you sit on to shuffle others around to meet your needs and do your bidding. To them, God was a way of holding people captive, not captivating. This is sad, but it is not what Jesus wept over, for our exploitation of God is for us to weep over.
Jesus was grieved by something sadder than our sin, something more tragic than our rebellion against God, and more devastating than our hostility to God and each other. Jesus weeps not because we lack peace with God, but because we neither see that we are at war with him through our rebellions and religions nor see that the one we are at war with is our only hope for ever finding peace. Sin does break God’s heart, but not when you finally see it and mourn for it as God does. God rejoices when a sinner sees. However, he is inconsolable when we are blind to our condition and to the peril it puts us in. Tears flow without end from Jesus’ eyes when none flow from ours. Hell is not just an expression of God’s wrath against sin. Hell is the breaking of God’s heart by those who refuse to open their eyes. Do you see?
Keep the Faith