As He came near and saw the city, He wept over it; ….
Scripture: Luke 19:41-44
I suspect that most people think that Jesus only cried once. I suspect that most people know what the shortest verse of the Bible is. If not, the answer is: John 11:35 – “Jesus wept.” This verse explains Jesus’ reaction as He draws near to the place where His good friend Lazarus has been interred. He has seen the distress and sorrow of Lazarus’ sisters, Martha and Mary. He is sad and His compassion for Lazarus, Martha and Mary results in Jesus shedding tears of His own.
The second record of Jesus having cried is found in the Gospel of Luke. He draws near to Jerusalem and sees the city. He realizes that the people of Judah are expecting a warrior to enter the city to conquer the Romans who have oppressed the Jews and to bring peace by the sword. Jesus laments that the people have not listened to the prophets and now it is too late. Jesus weeps over the city because while knowing what awaits Him a few days from then, He knows what will happen to Jerusalem. He notes the coming of enemies that will surround them and hold them captive until they die. Their beloved Temple will be destroyed and not one stone will be left upon another. Jesus weeps over sorrows and tragedies.
As we consider our world we might think that our Living Lord Jesus could do nothing these days except cry … as a young woman out jogging is apprehended and brutally murdered, as a man kills his wife and two beautiful young daughters, as firefighters risk injuries or death to put out flames set by an arsonist, as some people are left homeless, injured or dead following fierce floods and tornadoes, as insults and name calling are part of every day’s activities in the Capitol and the White House, and as there are reports of abuse and mistreatment of those most vulnerable our youth and our seniors.
And while our Living Lord Jesus may do nothing but cry every day, praise the Lord for those good news stories where there are tears of joy … when First Responders around the globe came to rescue young soccer players trapped in a cave, when a nun and a young boy pitch in baseball games to the cheers of a crowd, when two young women separated at birth come to learn of one another and “become” sisters, when teachers and mentors see youngsters making progress in learning through their efforts, and when neighbors help neighbors.
O God, we remember that Jesus wept and we suspect He still does. We pray that He may shed more tears of joy than tears of sorrow by what He observes on life. Let tears flow freely from our eyes when we hear of sad stories and inspire us to do things that may make life better or easier for those who are suffering. Let tears flow abundantly from our eyes as we observe something beautiful in nature, as we are moved by the love and compassion others show, and as we see forgiveness extended and persons reconciled to one another. These things we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.