The Passion of Christ in the Gospel of Luke
A Guide to Meditation and Prayer
Week 2 - Day 1
The Depth of Christ’s Compassion
Jesus Weeps Over Jerusalem
Meditation on Scripture- Read Luke 19:41-44 and write your reflections in the workbook. Use the summary below for further reflection on the passage. Prayer- Use the Guide for Prayer.
The view of the city of Jerusalem, as one comes down the side of the Mount of Olives is magnificent. As Jesus descended the mountain on the donkey, with the crowds around him, suddenly the city was in full view and looming in front of him. At this sight, and knowing what was to come, Jesus was filled with compassion and sadness. He understood that the majority of the Jewish nation would not receive him. As the gospel of John says, he came to his own, but his own did not receive him (John 1:11). Jesus also spoke prophetically here. He understood that there was great trouble and destruction in the city’s future because they refused to receive him. In this moment, Jesus was overwhelmed with emotion and wept.
His words are poignant, prophetic, and revealing. One hears the pain of God’s compassion for the city in Jesus’ words. The heart of Jesus breaks because of the trouble the city and nation would face because they would refuse to accept him, their peace. Were they to accept and receive the Prince of Peace, their future would be one of peace instead of destruction. They simply could not recognize him as their Messiah however; it was “hidden” from their eyes. Then Jesus prophesied about what would happen. The city would be surrounded and besieged. So complete would be their destruction that not a single stone would be left standing upon another. Jesus’ coming was the day of their “visitation,” the “day of the Lord” that had long been promised, but only a few in the city realized it, to their great ruin.
Jesus’ words would come true. In the year 70 A.D., Roman general Titus besieged the city of Jerusalem, because the Jews had rebelled against Rome. According to Jewish historian Josephus, wicked people in the city, for their own self-interest, started a rebellion that spread throughout the countryside. The people would declare independence from Rome but it would be short lived. The Roman legions came into the land with a vengeance and devastated it. When they came to Jerusalem, the Jewish people had some hope of deliverance as the city was well fortified against a siege. But the Romans had many skills, one of which was breaking down thick walls. Eventually they broke through even Jerusalem’s strong defenses. Because the city had refused to surrender the Roman troops slaughtered mercilessly and completely destroyed the city. The walls were torn down but more significantly, the great and magnificent temple Herod had rebuilt. It was torn down and burned, leaving nothing in its place. For almost two millennia, until 1948, the Jewish people would be scattered around the world and unable to call Jerusalem their nation’s home.
Things to Consider –
· In what way to you think Jesus reflected the virtue of the Beatitude that says, “blessed are those who mourn” (Matthew 5:4).
· Do you ever mourn? If not, why not?
· Is there anyone for whom you weep or ought to weep? How should you fulfill the beatitude, “blessed are those who mourn?”
· In your life, who has wept for you or with you?
· Why do you think the people’s acceptance of Jesus would have led to their peace? How would the acceptance of Jesus lead to peace in the world today?
· In what sense do you experience the peace of God in your life because of your faith in Jesus?
· Is there anything you need to do to experience greater peace?
· In the tears of Jesus, we see the sadness of God over those who reject him because of the troubles they bring on themselves. What does this story tell you about the heart of God?
· What do you think this story reveals about the compassion of God for the lost? For the Jewish people? For the needy?
· Do you think God feels compassionate toward you? Why or why not?
Guide for Prayer -
· Close your eyes and take one full minute to calm your mind and gather your spirit.
· Thank God for his compassion and mercy. Thank God for some ways you have experienced his compassion in your life.
· Imagine Christ looking on you with compassion. What words would you like to hear him say to you? Are they – “I love you,” “I know your struggles,” “I will not leave you,” “I am with you,” “Do not be afraid,” “Be strong and courageous,” “I will be with you,” “Just have faith.” Imagine Christ saying those words to you. What else would you like to hear him say?
· Prayer to our Heavenly Father – Almighty God, you invested great effort in the nation of Israel; how it must have hurt you to be rejected by them. Help my heart always be open to you.
· Prayer to the Son – Gracious Savior, help me have your compassion for people in my life.
· Prayer to the Holy Spirit – Spirit of wisdom and revelation, open the eyes of the world to recognize what Christ has done to bring them his peace.
· Ask God to give you a deep compassion for those who have not accepted Christ. Ask God to help you feel some of Christ’s compassion for them.
· Pray for someone whose rejection of Christ has led to their trouble. Ask God to open their heart to him.
· For whom do you feel particular compassion at the moment? Pray for that person or those people.
· Ask God for one thing you would like him to do for you. Humble yourself before God.
· Take some moments to offer your own prayers to God. Offer whatever prayers and praises seem appropriate.