Fully Human 6: Weeping, Part 2
Two years ago I moved to Chile to start a church called “Fuego Urbano” and reach out to the un-churched skaters, surfers, and younger generations of Chile. One of the first skaters I met has become like a son to me; he is an amazing young man with so much potential, but recently made a few decisions that will make the rest of his life a huge struggle. He had so many hopes and dreams but now he is just trying to get by. When I found out about it I felt like someone had kicked me in the stomach or knocked the wind out of me. I was not angry. I was sad and heart-broken because I knew I would have to watch this young man who I love, throw away so many of his hopes and dreams. For the first time I got a taste of what a parent must feel when they watch their children endure hardship or suffering because of their bad decisions.
What does this have to do with Jesus weeping? If God most fully reveals Himself to humanity through the person of Jesus Christ, as we have seen throughout this ‘Fully Human’ blog-series, then the tears of Jesus reveal the heart of God breaking as He watches those He loves reject Him. What then might Jesus’ tears tell us about God as he weeps over Jerusalem (Luke 19:28-44)?
In Lk 13:33 Jesus sets out for Jerusalem declaring, “no prophet can die outside Jerusalem.” While Jesus knows he will soon be killed, his disciples and the masses still do not understand what kind of king he is. The majority of the Jewish people were expecting that God would send them a great anointed warrior-king who would lead them into war against Rome, defeat the Roman Empire, free the Jewish people from Roman domination, and re-establish God’s reign and rule on the earth through His people. Jesus, however, does not quite fit into these expectations.
Some interesting things happen as Jesus approaches Jerusalem: the masses spread their robes on the ground in front of him, like red-carpet treatment for royalty and celebrities today; then they begin shouting “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord (Ps.118:26),” referring to the king God had promised to send them. Their actions imply that they believe their promised king has finally arrived! Some Jewish religious leaders tell Jesus to quiet the crowds but he responds that if they keep quiet, even the stones will cry out. I can just imagine the excitement of the moment: the hopes of the Jewish people are finally going to be fulfilled! It should be time to party!
But then something completely unexpected and out of place happens in this scene of jubilation: “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known…what would bring you peace; but now it is hidden from your eyes…because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you (NIV Lk 19:41-44).” What? Excuse me? Why on earth would Jesus weep during his own parade?
The answer is in the words: Jesus sees this great city that thinks it knows God’s will for it, but tragically it does not. It is blind. God has sent them their promised king and savior, the only one who can bring them peace, but they will reject him and have him executed. The answer to their prayers is staring them in the face and they do not even know it. It is worse then a Greek tragedy because it is real. Even the crowds who sing his praises will soon turn on him and call for his execution. Knowing this, Jesus weeps as he looks out over the city. He is heart-broken. He never wanted it to be this way, as he said earlier in Luke 13:34, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing (NIV).” Jesus has longed to gather, heal, and restore his people, but they refuse and it breaks his heart.
What do Jesus’ weeping here reveal to us about the heart of God?
First: as we have seen throughout this “Fully Human” series, if God reveals Himself to human beings most fully in the person of Jesus Christ (Jn 1:1-18; Col 1:15; Col 2:9), then we must acknowledge that God’s heart breaks like Jesus’ when we reject or refuse Him. That means that when we reject Him, He is more like a grieving parent then the cold harsh judge we tend to think of Him as; and viewing God like that makes me want to honor and please Him just like I want to honor and please my parents: not because I have to, but because I want to.
Second: God is constantly trying to break through to us but because we have so many preconceived ideas about who God “must be,” or how God “must operate,” we too are often blind to His work in our lives. We want God to fit into the tiny boxes we draw up for Him but He is way too big for our boxes. We must let go of our petty ideas and assumptions about God, and let Him be God if we really want to know Him.
Third: As in my previous post, many of us look at our pain and suffering and ask: “Does God even care?” “Is He just cold-hearted about it?” Because Jesus is the image of the invisible God (Col 1:15) we can see the answer in Jesus’ own tears: God’s heart breaks for us just like Jesus’ did. But He is not helpless: He can turn our greatest tragedies and struggles into positive lessons we can grow and mature from, but we must turn to Him for that because only He can do it.
How might this change the way you imagine God to be? How might it reshape God’s role in the midst of your own pain and suffering? How might it change the way you view and treat others who reject God?
For the entire Fully Human series click here.
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