Weeping Over Jerusalem.Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
But as they came closer to Jerusalem and Jesus saw the city ahead, he began to weep.
Within Jerusalem today, there is a place set apart for weeping over the city and its brokenness. The Western Wall, sometimes called the Wailing Wall, is a remnant of the actual wall that once surrounded the Jewish temple. Jews offer prayers at the wall, facing it and often touching it with their heads. Among these prayers, they lament the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70 at the hands of Rome.
In Luke 19:41-44, Jesus wept over this destruction about 40 years before it happened. As he gazed upon the Holy City, he knew that God’s people had rejected the way of the kingdom, the way of peace. He foresaw that siege of Rome that would ultimately lead to the defeat of Jerusalem and the utter destruction of the temple. Thus, Jesus wept, not only about the suffering that was to come, but also about the unwillingness of his people to embrace his kingdom message of peace.
This past summer, I had the extraordinary opportunity to visit Israel. My first view of Jerusalem came as I reached the top of the Mount of Olives, the place where Jesus “saw the city ahead” and “began to weep” (19:41). Of course, the view I saw differed significantly from that which Jesus observed almost 2,000 years earlier. Jerusalem is much larger today than it was in the first-century A.D., and the Jewish temple is no longer the dominant feature of the landscape. In its place is the Dome of the Rock, one of the holiest Islamic sites. As I looked upon the city, I could feel the tension that lurks there, the centuries of conflict and hatred. Though I did not weep, I did feel a deep sadness for the state of Jerusalem and, indeed, for the brokenness of our world. I have put up on my website some photos from my trip to Israel, including a large panorama of the city from the Mount of Olives and a couple of photos of the Western Wall.)
As you and I grow in our relationship with God, our minds and hearts will become more like the mind and heart of God. We will find ourselves praying in the way of Bob Pierce, the founder of World Vision: “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” In our grief, we will call out to God for mercy, for ourselves, for others, and for our world. In his grace, God will reach out with his healing love, not only comforting us but also using us to comfort others and to extend the peace of his kingdom.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What things in this world break your heart? What difference does this make in the way you pray? In the way you live? Are you willing to pray in the mode of Bob Pierce: “Lord, may my heart be broken by the things that break your heart”?
PRAYER: Lord, how easy it is for me to go about my life and neglect the pain and suffering of the world. I can forget that so many people don’t know you, while others have rejected your kingdom. Forgive me for my hard heart. Forgive me for getting so wrapped up in myself that I fail to see and feel as you do.
O Lord, may my heart be broken by the things that break your heart. Amen.