The View of the Waiting City

Luke 19:41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it.

All four gospels record the triumphal entry but Luke records other things about it.  Jesus went from Galilee to Samaria to Jordon.  There in Jericho Zacchaeus met Jesus and Bartimaeus received his sight.  He moved eastward approaching Jerusalem.  The city was surrounded by mountains, more like big hills to us.  The only pass open is toward the south and Bethlehem.  On the eastern mountain is the Mount of Olives.  In Jesus’ time it was covered with olive trees.  Now it’s mostly a cemetery.  Near the top were little villages like Bethpage and Bethany.  Bethany was the home of Lazarus, Mary and Martha.  Jesus often stayed with them.  Along with his disciples and some of the local people Jesus headed toward Jerusalem.  He sent some disciples ahead to get the colt and by the time he topped the hill he was riding it.  They could hear the noise as they came.  Looking toward the top of the hill the people saw their King.

Jesus wept when he saw the city.  It was the day that the sacrifices for Passover would be chosen and set apart.  They would be slain on Thursday at 6pm.  Topping the mount Jesus beheld the city and from there he would see the 12 gates of the city.  The people were in the distance, their eyes turned toward him.  He began to weep.  Jesus knew what was in the hearts of the people.  It broke his heart.  He knew this was the final 5 days of his life.  This was Sunday; he knew that after horrible suffering he’d die on Friday at 3pm.  How would you like to know you’d die this Friday?

At no point in his mission was Jesus forced to do this.  He had a choice to make.  He could see all the places he’d go and what would happen.  Herod didn’t know.  The disciples didn’t.  The women didn’t.  The Sanhedrin didn’t know.  See how frail and fickle we are.  We can’t trust ourselves, but we can trust Jesus.  He knew that once he went through the gate what would happen.  On Mount Moriah was the glorious temple.  He knew what was going in there and that he would deal with the money changers and overthrow their tables.  He would teach the people about the things of God.  The Sanhedrin would test him like never before for a chance to kill him.  He knew what was waiting.  At the brook near the gate was the Garden of Gethsemane.  He knew he’d go there one final time and agonize in prayer.  He’d wrestle with forces of darkness while death loomed.  Beyond the walls to the right of the temple was the assembly of the Sanhedrin and the house of the High Priest.  He knew he’d be arrested and taken there before daylight on Friday morning.  He knew the High Priest would rip open his robe in a symbolic gesture when Jesus answered affirmatively that he was the Son of God declaring that he committed blasphemy.  He knew he would be smacked around.  He would be taken to Pilate.  Nobody knew this, but Jesus did.  He knew there would be a scourging.  He could see the post where it would take place.  He could see the thorn bushes that would become his crown.  He knew the people would choose Barabbas instead of him. He was an unwanted Savior.

Knowing all this would you have gone on?  Jesus did.  He could see past the Damascus gate and the hill outside the city called Golgotha.  He knew that Calvary was his destination.  He knew if justice prevailed we would die.  He wept for lost souls and what was ahead.  The donkey moved on and he entered Jerusalem.  He went all the way taking our place at every stage.  He took every suffering, every sin, and hung on the cross for us.

What lay beyond the city was Calvary.  Beyond that was a tomb that would be emptied.  Beyond that he saw us without a Savior.  He decided to go all the way so we could enjoy the blessing of being saved by the King of Suffering, the Lamb of God.  Come let us worship and bow down.  Let us kneel before the God our maker.

What compelled Jesus on was his love for us.  His pain was our gain.

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