21 Mar. Luke 19:41-44

21 Mar. Jesus weeps over Jerusalem

"As Jesus came near Jerusalem, he saw the city and cried for it, saying, 'I wish you knew today what would bring you peace. But now it is hidden from you.'"

"'The time is coming when your enemies will build a wall around you and will hold you in on all sides. They will destroy you and all your people, and not one stone will be left on another.'"

"'All this will happen because you did not recognise the time when God came to save you.'"

          (Luke 19:41-44)

 

 

As Jesus made his way down the Mount of Olives from Bethany towards Jerusalem, he wept as he looked down over the Jewish Temple and the old city.

As the Pharisees continued their opposition to Jesus’s teaching, Jesus was saddened that they couldn't recognise what would bring peace to the city.

The Jewish leaders in Jesus's day (like those of today) were obsessed with Jewish nationalism. They hated the Romans, the Gentiles, the Samaritans, and anyone else who didn't fit into their narrow definition of 'God's chosen people'. They were (and many still are) ultra-nationalistic, and many wished to expel anyone from their country who wasn't 100% Jewish.

The Jewish leaders believed that they - exclusively - were worthy of God's blessing, and they desperately wanted to expel any non-Jews from their country. The parallels with the Israel of today are obvious to anyone who listens to ruling Israeli politicians, or observes the terrible hardships and injustices wrought by the current government of Israel on Palestinian Christians and Muslims.

But Jesus's approach was quite different. He recognised that the Jewish people were blessed by God so they could be a blessing to others. God stated this clearly when he called their ancestor Abraham to leave Haran and travel to the land of Canaan (Palestine): "I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you. I will make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others... And all the people on earth will be blessed through you." (Genesis 12:1-3).

But the Jewish leaders were stubborn and cold. They didn't want to listen to those (like Jesus) who pushed for inter-racial harmony, tolerance and love of non-Jews. The Jewish Scriptures say "Love your neighbour as yourself" (Leviticus 19:18), but the Jewish leaders interpreted this as "Love your JEWISH neighbour as yourself." Even Jesus's story about the 'Good Samaritan' (see Luke 10:25-37) could not convince the Jewish leaders to love and bless their non-Jewish Samaritan/Palestinian neighbours.

So Jesus went on to prophesy the bloodshed and pain that would (and still does) inevitably follow the policy of hostility to all non-Jews. He accurately looked ahead to the siege and destruction of Jerusalem that occurred forty years later in 70AD.

The photo shows Roman soldiers looting the Jewish Temple after the downfall of Jerusalem in 70AD (depicted on Titus's Arch in the Forum at Rome).

You can read more about the Romano-Jewish War of 66-70AD @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/21-…/the-romanojewish-war/


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