What could possibly make Jesus weep? This is the Son of God here. The worker of incredible miracles. The one who healed the sick, raised the dead, and calmed the storm with a word and yet there are two places in scripture where we see him weep tears not of joy, but of deep hurt and sadness. One was at the grave tomb of Lazarus and the other was when he looked over Jerusalem not long before his crucifixion.
Luke 19:41–42 (NASB95)
41 When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it,
42 saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.
The word “wept” literally means to “cry aloud” or to “wail”. In other words Jesus didn’t just shed a tear or two, no no, he cried as one would cry over the loss of something dear to his heart. He wept openly and loudly. This must have astonished the disciples seeing their Lord overcome with such emotion.
Why did jesus weep? Because it had become a pattern for the holy city to stone her prophets rather than receive their word which was meant to save them, not harm them. We must remember the word of the prophets at times seem bitter, even harsh, yet their intent is to provoke people to repentance. The words usually come when we want to be comforted in our sin, not rebuked.
Luke 13:34 (NASB95)
34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!
What did Jesus do after weeping over Jerusalem? Did He walk away? Nope. When you keep reading in context Jesus entered the city and then the Temple where he “cleaned house” by driving out the money changers. (Those whose eyes were on money rather than God.) This was the second cleansing of the Temple. This was a side of Jesus they rarely saw, but righteous indignation welled up in him and for a moment, we get a glimpse of the Lion inside the Lamb. He then proceeded to preach and teach with boldness right there in the Temple. This further infuriated the powers that be and they began to both question and challenge his authority. cc.Lk. 20:1-2
Jesus wept because the “die was cast”. The religious leaders would refuse to see the light and repent while there was still time. Jerusalem would do again what she had always done, stone her prophets.
The question becomes will we as the people of God weep over the right things and for the right reasons? Will we weep because our “comfort has been taken” or because we see our sin? Will we become angry at those who are seeking to help because they don’t carry the word we want to hear or will we repent and let God restore blessings untold to us?
I have an incredible “holy fear” of the Lord like never before. I see the people of God wanting words of “comfort” when what we need to do is wail at the altar of repentance over our own sin, the sin in our churches, and the sins of our nation. I do not speak as one who is self-righteous…I speak as one broken. I choose to hear and act on the words of the prophets as they cry out. Do you?