Scripture: Luke 19:41-44 (alternate reading for Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.A. from Luke 17:11-19)
41 And when he drew near and saw the city he wept over it, 42 saying, "Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes. 43 For the days shall come upon you, when your enemies will cast up a bank about you and surround you, and hem you in on every side, 44 and dash you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another in you; because you did not know the time of your visitation."
Meditation: What enables us to live in peace and harmony
with our families, neighbors, local communities, and the wider
community of peoples and nations? The Father in heaven sent his
only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to reconcile us with God
and to unite us with one another in a bond of peace and mutual
Jesus' earthly ministry centers and culminates in Jerusalem, which Scripture describes as the holy city, the throne of the Lord (Jeremiah 3:17);and the place which God chose for his name to dwell there (1 Kings 11:13; 2 Kings 21:4; 2 Kings 23:27); and the holy mountain upon which God has set his king (Psalm 2:6). Jerusalem derives its name from the word "salem" which mean "peace". The temple in Jerusalem was a constant reminder to the people of God's presence with them.
Tears of mourning and sorrow over sin and refusal to
believe in God
When Jesus approached Jerusalem and saw the multitude of homes surrounding the holy temple, he wept over it because it inhabitants did not "know the things that make for peace" (Luke 19:42). As he poured out his heart to the Father in heaven, Jesus shed tears of sorrow, grief, and mourning for his people. He knew that he would soon pour out his blood for the people of Jerusalem and for the whole world as well.
Why does Jesus weep and lament over the city of Jerusalem?
Throughout its history, many of the rulers and inhabitants -
because of their pride and unbelief - had rejected the prophets
who spoke in the name of the Lord. Now they refuse to listen to
Jesus who comes as their Messiah - whom God has anointed to be
their Savior and Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
Jesus is our only hope - the only one who can save us and
Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem was a gracious visitation of God's anointed Son and King to his holy city. Jerusalem's lack of faith and rejection of the Messiah, however, leads to its eventual downfall and destruction by the Romans in 70 A.D. Jesus' lamentation and prophecy echoes the lamentation of Jeremiah who prophesied the first destruction of Jerusalem and its temple. Jeremiah's prayer of lamentation offered a prophetic word of hope, deliverance, and restoration:
"But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies are new every morning ...For the Lord will not cast off for ever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the sons of men" (Lamentations 3:21-22, 31-32).
Jesus is the hope of the world because he is the only one who can truly reconcile us with God and with one another. Through his death and resurrection Jesus breaks down the walls of hostility and division by reconciling us with God. He gives us his Holy Spirit both to purify us and restore us as a holy people of God. Through Jesus Christ we become living temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). God has visited his people in the past and he continues to visit us through the gift and working of his Holy Spirit. Do you recognize God's gracious visitation of healing and restoration today?
God judges, pardons, heals, and restores us to new life
When God visits his people he comes to establish peace and justice by rooting out our enemies - the world (which stands in opposition to God), the flesh (our own sinful cravings and inordinate desires), and the devil (who is Satan, the father of lies and a murderer from the beginning - John 8:44) who enslave us to fear and pride, rebellion and hatred, envy and covetousness, strife and violence, and every form of evil and wrong-doing. That is why God both judges and purifies his people - to lead us from our sinful ways to his way of justice, peace, love, and holiness. God actively works among his people to teach us his ways and to save us from the destruction of our own pride and sin and from Satan's snares and lies.
Are God's judgments unjust or unloving? Scripture tells us that "when God's judgments are revealed in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness" (Isaiah 26:9). To pronounce judgment on sin is much less harsh than what will happen if those who sin are not warned to repent. The Lord in his mercy gives us grace and time to turn away from sin, but that time is right now. If we delay, even for a moment, we may discover that grace has passed us by and our time is up. Do you accept the grace to turn away from sin and to walk in God's way of peace and holiness?
"Lord Jesus, you have visited and redeemed your people. May I not miss the grace of your visitation today as you move to bring your people into greater righteousness and holiness of life. Purify my heart and mind that I may I understand your ways and conform my life more fully to your will."
Psalm 50:1-2,5-6, 23
1 The Mighty One, God the LORD, speaks and
summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.
2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.
5 “Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!”
6 The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge!
14 Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High;
15 and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
Daily Quote from the early church fathers: Jesus fulfills the beatitude for those who weep, by Origen of Alexandria (185-254 AD)
"When our Lord and Savior approached Jerusalem, he saw the city
and wept... By his example, Jesus confirms all the Beatitudes that
he speaks in the Gospel. By his own witness, he confirms what he
teaches. 'Blessed are the meek,' he says. He says something
similar to this of himself: 'Learn from me, for I am meek.'
'Blessed are the peacemakers.' What other man brought as much
peace as my Lord Jesus, who 'is our peace,' who 'dissolves
hostility' and 'destroys it in his own flesh' (Ephesians 2:14-15).
'Blessed are those who suffer persecution because of justice.'
"No one suffered such persecution because of justice as did the
Lord Jesus, who was crucified for our sins. The Lord therefore
exhibited all the Beatitudes in himself. For the sake of this
likeness, he wept, because of what he said, 'Blessed are those who
weep,' to lay the foundations for this beatitude as well. He wept
for Jerusalem and said,'If only you had known on that day what
meant peace for you! But now it is hidden from your eyes,' and the
rest, to the point where he says, 'Because you did not know the
time of your visitation'" (excerpt from HOMILY ON THE
GOSPEL OF LUKE 38.1–2)
Scripture quotations from Common Bible:
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright
1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard
Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the
Division of Christian Education of the National
Council of the Churches of Christ in the United
States of America. Used by permission. All rights
reserved. Citation references for quotes from
the writings of the early church fathers can be
The Daily Scripture Readings and Meditations is in need of on-going development to expand resources and to reach people around the world. If you would like to contribute, you can make an online donation.