Does Jesus Still Weep?

Text: Luke 19:41-42a
As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ‘If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! (NRSV)

Jesus arrives in Jerusalem in what has been called his “Triumphal Entry” and his first act is to weep over the city.  If you do not know what the word Jerusalem means in English, you may miss the word play found here.

Jerusalem means, “City of Peace”.  Salem is a derivative of shalom and more literally means wholeness, safety, and peace.  But the point Jesus is making as he weeps over the city and says, “if you, even you [city of peace], had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace!” is that Jerusalem, and those who are the people who represent Jerusalem, have failed to live up to what God had called them to be.

Jerusalem was supposed to be that “city on a hill” which called all other nations into a relationship with the God of all creation.  God had called out the Jews through Abraham, to be a witness to God and a blessing to all other nations.  Jesus weeps, because they have failed their calling right up to the point of “this day” not recognizing the Messiah and Son of God when he rides triumphally into Jerusalem and stands right in front of them.

It has been more than 2,000 years since Christ came and the Christian Church began.  How are we doing with our call?  Are we a light to the nations bringing wholeness, safety, and peace to the world on God’s behalf?  Do we recognize the things of God when they are right in front of us?  Do people see God’s love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness flowing from Jesus’ Church?  Do those who are separated by sin from a relationship with God, a relationship which God desires above all other things, feel invited into that relationship by the words and actions of God’s Church?  Or does Jesus still weep?

Pray with me:

God of shalom, forgive me when I live as if I do not understand your ways.  Forgive me when my words and actions are more of a deterrent than a light to the least, the last, and the lost in finding a relationship with you.  Remind me of my calling as one who claims to be a follower of your Son, Jesus the Prince of Peace.  AMEN.

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