This Week's Focus Passage

Luke 13:34 ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem’

This astounding cry of lament over the city of Jerusalem by our Savior is surely remarkable for its somewhat enigmatic nature. How is it that the Son of God, God Himself, must cry over this great city of His own people according to the flesh? Is it that He could not save them? Certainly, that is not the case. As always, God is sovereign in all things and, most surely, in the salvation of men. But man, also as always, is a responsible being. The responsibility will forever lay upon those of whom Christ here speaks; the last line best expresses this responsibility of man; and ye would not! The context, that is, the entire pericope demonstrates the pathos of this most striking moment as Christ cast His eyes over the Holy city:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her own brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate!

Has He not indeed truly felt the pangs of rejection and estrangement from His own people? There is set most patently before us, in Hebrews, that which the inspired writer reveals; namely, the union in Christ of two natures. Faith enables us to believe what we likely will never fully comprehend; how that this Person is both God as well as man. We read in Hebrews 4:15 this blessed truth, expressed by this particular writer, for our hearts to receive that which our minds can scarcely grasp:

For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities: but one that hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

This writer, of course, in speaking in this manner, avowing that our Great High Priest is indeed touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He was touched with that feeling when He wept over the tomb of Lazarus. The alleged shortest verse in our bibles simply states, Jesus wept. And it is not until chapter nineteen of Luke, six chapters removed from our focus passage, that we Luke has recorded, And when he drew nigh, he saw the city and wept over it. Additionally, there are more than one occasion recorded of Jesus sighing. There is absolutely no question but that Jesus most assuredly was touched with the feeling of our infirmities. This being the case, how must He have felt when He came unto His own and His own received Him not?

Hendriksen’s comments upon John 11:35, Jesus wept, are more in keeping with our design this week than are the comments of others. They are particularly appropriate to share with the reader. Give attention to this Dutch Reformed writer;

“In connection with the tears the remark is often made that they prove Jesus’ true humanity. This is certainly correct. The Fourth Gospel (the very book which stresses Christ’s deity) describes him as being not only absolutely divine but also truly human. It must be stressed, however, that these tears of our Lord were unaccompanied by sin. They were not the tears of the professional mourner, nor those of the sentimentalist, but those of the pure and holy, sympathizing High Priest! They proceeded from the   most genuine love for man found in the entire universe, the love which gave itself.”—The Gospel of John, Hendriksen, pp. 155, 56.

The Person of Jesus was weeping, in human compassion, for Mary and Martha, in the loss of their brother. His tears fell with theirs, though He knew that He was going to raise Lazarus from this death, His sympathy with the sisters evoked an expression of sorrow that drew Him alongside them in grief.

This is something of that grief that He felt for His ‘kinsmen according to the flesh’—to use Paul’s expression from Romans 9:3—found in His lament over Jerusalem. Though He is God manifest in the flesh, and though He knows all things, and though He came to do His Father’s will in all things, and though He knew very well which individuals would receive Him and which would not, nonetheless, He weeps over their foolish response to the gospel. It is an incredible difficulty for men to grasp. Here is the absolutely Holy One of Israel weeping over Jerusalem; His kinsmen according to the flesh who would not come to Him to be saved from the wrath of the Almighty and All-righteous God.

Many of us have ‘kinsmen according to the flesh’ for whom we daily pray in something of this manner; often with the sympathizing tear. Why should we be surprised or discomfited by these tears? They are the product of natural affection, such as even our blessed Savior experienced. Jesus is the union of God and man; the blessed coming together of the nature of God and the nature of man, and it is as such that He has come to save His people from their sins. We see this evidenced again for us in the account given of the one calling Jesus, ‘Good Teacher’ in Mark 10:17ff. He was inquiring, ‘What shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus exhorted the inquirer to dispose of his possessions and follow Him and he would have treasures in heaven, but he went away sorrowful for he had great possessions. He would not part with them. Mark informs us of something not found in either Matthew or Luke’s account; ‘Jesus looked upon him and loved him.’ Here we have set before us for our instruction a case that we must all deal with, and Jesus, being touched with our infirmities, has provided this example. When we are faced with similar circumstances; when we experience those we love not willing to come to the Savior. We love them; we desire for them those treasures in heaven. We must watch them walking away even as Jesus watched this young ruler walk away. How do we feel? How did Jesus feel? We are further advised by the Hebrews preacher, let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, knowing this, that we have a High Priest that has been touched with the feeling of our infirmities.


David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church


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