Growing up I was a terrible kid to my parents and sister. I pushed every boundary I could to get my own way. My dad traveled a lot, so the bulk of the discipline was left to mom. I distinctly remember a time when I had crossed the line and mom had to punish me, and as she did, she was crying saying how it “hurt her much more than me”. At the time, I remember thinking that she was weak. Today I see things very differently.
In our reading this week, we see Jesus heading toward His appointed time to sacrifice His life. “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 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. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 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." Luke 19:41-44 (NIV)
Like my mom, Jesus’ heart is broken over the stubborn and willful rebellion of His children, the Jewish people in this case. These were the ones who had experienced God’s kindness and favor, yet they chose to reject the truth in favor of their own ideas and desires. The word “wept” goes beyond just meaning “to cry” and refers to a deep and body shaking brokenness, over the fate of these who will not change. We have seen Jesus predict the judgement and woe to come to those who defy God, but we also need to see the broken heart of God over their fate.
My mom loved me so much that she regularly showed me what was right, and encouraged me in that direction. She warned me of the danger ahead if I strayed out-of-line, and she also loved me enough to discipline me for my rebellion – even though she did so with tears. We see Jesus doing the same thing as He rides into capital city of the nation He loves.