“He wept over it . . .”

Palm Sunday didn’t end with hallelujahs. Those shouts of praise drew this reaction:

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!”

When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”
Luke 19:39–44

He Wept Over It, Flevit Super Illam

This week will see more conflict and unrelenting tension as Jesus teaches at the Temple and confronts the Jewish leaders. Luke is the only gospel writer to describe Jesus weeping over Jerusalem after this week’s initial confrontation with the Pharisees. Douglas Huffman puts this event into context.

“The three stories leading up to the entry—the blind man crying out “Son of David” (Luke 18:35-43), Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10); and the parable of the pounds [minas] (Luke 19:11-27)—follow immediately after one of Jesus’ key passion predictions (Luke 18:31-34) and connect directly to the triumphal entry story (Luke 19:28-44). Strauss’s overview of this introduction to the triumphal entry is worth repeating here.

“In summary, Luke like Mark uses the son of David cry of the blind man outside Jericho to prepare the reader for Jesus’ royal entrance into Jerusalem and his passion and death as king of the Jews. But, in contrast with Mark, Luke introduces two pericopes between these events which serve to clarify Jesus’ messianic role and ministry. In the Zacchaeus story, Jesus’ messianic role is seen not as the conquering son of David of contemporary Judaism…dealing with retribution to Israel’s enemies but rather as the com­passionate Son of man seeking and saving the lost (i.e. the role of the messiah as set out in Luke 4:18-19, 7:20-23). Then, in the parable of the pounds [minas], the nature of Jesus’ kingly authority and reign is presented not as the immediate establishment of an earthly kingdom on earth but rather as a departure to receive kingly authority, followed by a still future return in judgment.”

“As for the triumphal entry itself, these same themes are confirmed by the manner in which Luke recounts the event. Recalling the blind man healed in Jericho, people at the triumphal entry recognize Jesus as royalty and praise God “for all the mighty works that they had seen.” Recalling the Zacchaeus story and Jesus’ openness to receiving all who believe and respond, Luke alone describes the people at the triumphal entry as “the whole multitude of the disciples.” Recalling the parable of the pounds [minas] and the separation of those devoted to the king and those opposed to him, Luke alone reports the Pharisaic anxiety at the triumphal entry about Jesus’ identity. The time for ultimate judgment does not come when Jesus reaches Jerusalem (nor even after the resurrection when he is in Jerusalem; see Acts 1:6). But judgment day is coming. This is the emphasis of how Luke closes the triumphal entry episode with a uniquely Lukan account of Jesus’ sorrow over Jerusalem. It was not merely over the bricks of the walls and buildings that Jesus mourned, for it was not merely over those things that he is Messiah King.”1

Jesus wept for the hard-headed, hard-hearted, unrepentant people.

Flevit super illam (He wept over it): Enrique Simonet. {PD-1923}.
1Douglas H. Huffman, “Receiving Jesus as Messiah King: A Synoptic Study on the Way to Luke’s Triumphal Entry Account,” The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 16.3 (Fall 2012) 11.

Copyright ©2014–2022 Iwana Carpenter

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s