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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

JESUS WEEPS OVER JERUSALEM

Luke 19:39-44 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto Him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And He answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. And when He was come near, He beheld the city, and wept over it, 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. 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, 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.

Throughout Jesus public ministry to this point, Jesus had always denounced any attempt by His disciples to place Himself upon any worshipful pedestal, preferring to be known to his followers as the humblest of servants. However, it seems that upon, what would be His final entry into Jerusalem, He yielded to the regal acclaim that was due to His God-given title and role as the Messiah, the Savior of the world. Because of the joyful praise given to Him by the believing multitude that had accepted Him as the promised Messiah, the disbelieving Pharisees became enraged. These self-proclaimed enemies of Christ Jesus were offended by these public demonstrations of honor and glory given Him and asked Him to rebuke Thy disciples for their actions. About this scripture Matthew Henry wrote that "it is the honor of Christ that, as he despises the contempt of the proud, so he accepts the praises of the humble."

To uphold the actions of His disciples on this occasion, and to emphasize His reply to these disbelieving Pharisees, He answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. For all those disciples that, based on Old Testament prophecies, believed and accepted Jesus as the promised Messiah, their actions, their praising and honoring Jesus as the Savior, were proper and justified. To say that stones would immediately cry out, is used much like Jesus used proverbs to explain His teachings on numerous occasions. To suppress the joyful actions of the multitude on this occasion would be to disclaim Jesus as the Son of God and the promised Savior. If these followers of Christ would not, or were not allowed to, proclaim Jesus as the Messiah, God would announce it in another way. If there were no other manner in which to make this proclamation, He would require inanimate stones used to construct the walls and buildings of Jerusalem to openly testify to the world that Jesus was His Son - the promised Messiah that was sent to earth to establish His kingdom. Now was the time for this prophesied event to occur. The silencing of Jesus' disciples could not prevent it from taking place.

Continuing on His short journey, Jesus came near and beheld the city (Jerusalem), and wept over it. This lamentation over the city of Jerusalem is recorded only in the inspired Gospel of Luke. Riding on the ass that was given Him, and coming down from the Mount of Olives, Jesus could probably see almost the entire holy city of Jerusalem. With the joyful multitude proclaiming Him as the promised Messiah, Jesus' inner spirit began to weep over the city. Verse 42 tells us that one reason He wept was over His Jewish heritage - His national family. He knew that most of them in the city were unrepentant sinners because they had been spiritually misguided by their self-righteous religious leaders. Primarily it was the scribes and Pharisees that had miserably failed to understand all Old Testament prophecies that announced Jesus as the merciful Savior.

It was for these hopelessly lost inhabitants of Jerusalem, that Jesus, with great sorrow, wept. In verses 43 and 44 Jesus predicts the destruction of Jerusalem by a Roman siege carried out under a vast army led by its general named Titus. It was indeed fulfilled some thirty years after Jesus made this prophecy and has been confirmed by the Jewish leader and historian, Josephus. The "trench" was not a ditch as we would translate it today, but a wall that was built to surround Jerusalem to isolate its Jewish population, and literally starve them into submission due to the lack of provisions being kept from them. This being accomplished, Titus had the temple and entire city destroyed leaving not one stone upon another. These tragedies came upon the Jewish people because they refused to believe that it was the Messiah now entering their city. The time was at hand, yet He was rejected, and He wept over it!