The Lamentations of Jesus
The Lamentations of Jesus
|Hosanna to the royal Son|
|Of David’s ancient line!|
|His natures two, his person one,|
|Mysterious and divine.|
Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and having salvation,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Among the Jewish rabbis there were those who believed that the Messiah would arrive in one of two ways depending upon whether or not Israel was worthy of His appearance. If the nation were worthy, the appearance would be on clouds of glory. If the nation was unworthy—unprepared spiritually—then His coming would be by the lowly means of riding on a donkey.
The theme of the celebration was peace. Dr. Luke opened his Gospel with the angel’s announcement of “peace on earth” (Luke 2:14), but now the theme was “peace in heaven.” Because the King was rejected, there could be no peace on earth. Instead, there would be constant bitter conflict between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of evil
But with the self-denying love of a patriot, and the grace of a Saviour,
He looked beyond His own sufferings, and fixed His eye on theirs. What an
appeal to His pity was there I The city was beleaguered and lost — the
dwelling of Holiness was laid waste.
GOD INTENDS GREAT THINGS FOR THOSE TO WHOM HE HAS GIVEN HIS
WORD AND ORDINANCES. He had chosen Jerusalem, and set up His temple
there, and made it the centre of His most particular dealings with the elect
nation, that it might reflect His glory, show forth His praises, and be the
crown and rejoicing of the whole earth. The thing meant to be reached and
made the everlasting possession of its people, is here summed up by the
Saviour in the word “peace; not mere rest from disturbance and strife; nor
yet only health and well-being, as the word often denotes in the Old
Testament; but that which is the subject of Divine promise, the highest
results of God’s mercy and favour, the true Messianic blessing of
everlasting freedom from the distresses and consequences of sin, and
exaltation to near and holy relationship with God and heaven. And great
things are meant for us, even the same things of “peace” which pertained at
first to the ancient Jerusalem.
1. There are things which pre-eminently belong to your peace.
2. The period allotted to you for attending to them is definite and brief.
3. Should your day close, and leave you unsaved, your guilt will be great,
and your condition remediless.
4. This is a spectacle calling for the profoundest lamentation.
He weeps over
LOST PRIVILEGES. — “Oh, that thou hadst known the things which
belong unto thy peace.”
LOST OPPORTUNITIES. — “Even thou in this thy day. Nations and men
have their day:
Strangely mysterious are these tears! But they were
as real as they are mysterious — solemnly and awfully real — the bitterest
that ever descended from a grief-stricken countenance. They were the tears
of a man, but the expression of Deity; and viewing them in the light of the
ancient love and peculiar complacency with which Jerusalem and its
inhabitants had been divinely regarded, we may designate them as the tears
of disappointed affection. How briny and how many have been such tears,
as they have fallen, hot and scalding, from the eyes of broken-hearted
weepers! There are the tears of the father, welling up from the depths of
parental love, in thinking of his prodigal boy. There are the tears of the
mother, wept over a lost daughter — tears that had been less bitter had the
green turf received them instead of a memory of shame. “the tears of Jesus wept over
No matter where Jesus looked, He found cause for weeping. If He looked back, He saw how the nation had wasted its opportunities and been ignorant of their “time of visitation.” If He looked within, He saw spiritual ignorance and blindness in the hearts of the people.
They should have known who He was, for God had given them His Word and sent His messengers to prepare the way.
As He looked around, Jesus saw religious activity that accomplished very little.
The temple had become a den of thieves, and the religious leaders were out to kill Him.
The city was filled with pilgrims celebrating a festival, but the hearts of the people were heavy with sin and life’s burdens.
As Jesus looked ahead, He wept as He saw the terrible judgment that was coming to the nation, the city, and the temple. In a.d. 70, the Romans would come and, after a siege of 143 days, kill 600,000 Jews, take thousands more captive, and then destroy the temple and the city. Why did all of this happen? Because the people did not know that God had visited them! “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not” (John 1:11). “We will not have this man to reign over us!” (Luke 19:14)
Why He weeps
1. First, notice, he laments over the fault by which they perished — “Oh
that thou hadst known.” Ignorance, wilful ignorance, was their ruin.
2. The Lord laments the bliss which they had lost, the peace which could
not be theirs. “Oh that thou hadst known the things that belong unto thy
3. But our Lord also lamented over the persons who had lost peace.
Observe that He says, — “Oh that thou hadst known, even thou. Thou art
Jerusalem, the favoured city. It is little that Egypt did not know, that Tyre
and Sidon did not know, but that thou shouldst not know!” Ah, friends, if
Jesus were here this morning, He might weep over some of you and say —
“Oh that thou hadst known, even thou.”
4. Our Lord wept because of the opportunity which they had neglected. He
said, “ At least in this thy day.” It was such a favoured day: they aforetime
had been warned by holy men, but now they had the Son of God Himself
to preach to them.
5. The Lord Jesus mourned again because He saw the blindness which had
stolen over them. They had shut their eyes so fast that now they could not
see: their ears which they had stopped had become dull and heavy; their
hearts which they had hardened had waxen gross; so that they could not
see with their eyes, nor hear with their ears, nor feel in their hearts, nor be
converted that He should heal them. Why, the truth was as plain as the sun
in the heavens, and yet they could not see it; and so is the gospel at this
hour to many of you, and yet you perceive it not.
6. Lastly, we know that the great flood-gates of Christ’s grief were pulled
up because of the ruin which He foresaw.