Sunday we heard preached the Palm Sunday scene of Luke 19. But that’s not all that happens in that chapter. In verse 44, Jesus weeps as He approaches Jerusalem and says:
“They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
“God’s coming to you.” What would you think of if I said, “God came”? Would you think of a particular scripture, a particular image, or a portion of the story of Jesus? When we think of God’s coming, the Church generally thinks of Christmas. The Incarnation is the miracle of the God of Heaven condescending to earth even to the point of taking on human form and walking among us (well, first crawling). But in this passage of Luke 19, Jesus speaks as He prepares to enter the City of God of “God’s coming to you.” I don’t think He was merely reflecting back on Christmas or looking ahead to some final Judgment Day. He seems to be responding with all the emotion and intensity of a prophet to exactly what is about to happen. And how does He do so? With tears.
This tells us so much about the heart of God. In his commentary, Luke for Everyone, N.T. Wright makes this statement about God’s judgment:
“If you’re in covenant with the holy God, disobedience doesn’t simply prevent blessings, bringing you back, as it were, to square one. It calls down the judgment that a sorrowful God will pour out on his people when they reject him and his purposes.” (Luke for Everyone, WJK Press, 2004; p.233)
The Good News still pierces through as we see the dramatic scene in the Temple, that this God-King is not above tears, is not weakened by display of sorrow, but the tears rather show the strength of His love. These are not the tears of a prophet foreshadowing the coming of God, a man weeping on God’s behalf. This is God Himself. The King has returned to His holy city. These are the tears of the God of love. If there is ever judgment upon the world, it comes from God’s heart of sorrow and love that is broken by choices of disobedience and rejection. But for all who would receive the King, we rejoice knowing that no matter what choices we have made of disobedience and rejection, there is now “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). The King has returned. O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.