Today’s Lectio Divina: Luke 19: 41-44 (MsgB)
When the city (Jerusalem) came into view, He (Jesus) wept over it. “If you had only recognized this day, and everything that was good for you! But now it’s too late. In the days ahead your enemies are going to bring up their heavy artillery and surround you, pressing in from every side. They’ll smash you and your babies on the pavement. Not one stone will be left intact. All this because you didn’t recognize and welcome God’s personal visit.”
Here’s an amazing fact that we often overlook about our God.
Apparently, there are things that happen down here on the planet that cause the Creator of the Universe to weep. Here in Luke’s gospel, we find Jesus crying real tears over the city God loves. Apparently, until such time when Jesus returns to our planet for His second visit, there will always be tissue boxes in heaven. Super-sized Kleenex made specifically for big tears that only a big King can cry.
Admittedly, most humans scratch their heads and look quite perplexed when they hear this shocking news that God cries. We’ve come to believe, unfortunately, that everything that happens down here in human history is the ultimate ‘will’ of God. Thus we falsely believe that God is not moved or distraught when any or all of the horrible things that occur on this planet actually happen.
Now, while I understand fully how we followers of God want to believe that nothing on earth happens without God’s initiation, the truth is that this thing called life has much deeper truths attached to it than we simple-minded humans can always comprehend.
The fact, for example, that God cries does not mean that God is not supreme. Far from it.
That’s why looking at God in heaven and life down here from a Kingdom perspective truly helps. A Kingdom viewpoint, you see, views God, the omnipotent creator and ultimate judge of the universe, as one who cries; not because things are out of His control, but because you and I have chosen to live apart from Him, outside His comprehensive protection and care.
Now, I don’t know if you’ve checked this out lately, but there is one big factor that affects everything we experience in this life…
This world is not heaven! It never has been. It never will be.
This is earth. The place where you and I live, breathe and have our being for a short period of time. It’s a temporary place. One that is passing by quickly. A temporary home that our ancestors, not God, chose for us.
Remember Adam and Eve?
Back in the beginning, God wisely chose to make human beings in His image but refused to give us a sterile life where we are only robots. So, despite the real risk of lots of bad things happening to good people, God, in His amazing mercy and love, gave Adam and Eve the right to choose for themselves who they would love, worship and serve.
Since you know the story well, I’ll cut to the chase. Our ancient ancestors chose very quickly, with some sinister help from outside influences, to live beyond the perfect will of God, taking their lives out of God’s protective covering and putting life into their own hands.
God, being the wonderfully warm Father He is, decides that this decision Adam and Eve makes, while not wise, can still be used to bring long-term benefits to us as we ‘grow up’ in this dangerous, self-consumed, fallen environment called earth. And just as a loving parent places the keys to the family car into the itchy palm of a pimply-faced teenager, God knows full well that Adam and Eve and all their descendants (that includes you and me) can experience both exhilarating life and painful death with the keys of God’s creation in our hands. In very real ways, when you and I take the keys to life out of our Creator’s hands, we enter into a realm of high responsibility that will either teach us to drive responsibly or can prove to kill us (and others) if we don’t drive with great care.
And so it goes. We’ve been given the keys to life. And our planet awaits. Looking to see how we will live our lives. Will we live life our way, with some cooperative help from an outside influencer called Satan? Or will we choose to submit our lives to God, living in ways that defer to His ultimate wisdom and power?
World history shows us that we humans have done a fairly unimpressive job at this high calling. Oh yes, every generation has its share of those who see the light, but, quite honestly, we tend to get a much larger handful of self-consumed suckers year in and year out. People who miss the point completely, living lives that focus exclusively on self, grabbing for all the gusto we can get.
On the other hand, for some across the ages, Jesus of Nazareth has become the one true example of how we can do this thing called life well. Millions, actually, have followed Him over the centuries, pointing to Jesus’ life and ministry as the way, the truth, and the life.
It’s this same Jesus who weeps at the gates of Jerusalem in 33 AD, looking into the future of God’s holy city. Historians tell us that within 40 years of Jesus’ death, Jerusalem will experience a horror that defies all rhyme or reason. Romans armies will sweep through the city, leaving no stone atop another. God’s holy city, now destroyed.
History also shows us that it will take nearly 2,000 years for Jerusalem to fully recover from this disaster in 70 AD. In 1947, God’s people are once again welcomed back into this holy city. And yet, even today, the city remains a place where tension is high and violence a constant threat. Who knows how God might have protected His city over the last 2,000 years had the people in Jesus’ day had a better response to God’s visitation which came through His Son, Jesus of Nazareth?
And that’s what brings us back to the God who cries.
Like the people of Jerusalem, how many poor decisions have we made in our lives? Decisions, made through our own free will, which break the Father heart of God, moving us further away from His ultimate desire and will for our lives? In other words, how many tissues has God had to use as He watches me, time after time, choose my selfish will over and above His?
My prayer: Father, I want my life to reflect Jesus’ desires for my life. Unlike the people of Jerusalem in 33 AD, help me to always be welcoming of God’s personal visits into my life. Holy Spirit, help me to always recognize Jesus in every way, avoiding human consequences that would cause You to weep over me. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: Where might Jesus be weeping over me today? Where have I missed God’s invitation to true Kingdom life, remaining stubborn and obstinate, like Adam and Eve, choosing to live life my way versus submitting to God’s loving plans and perfect will?
So, what are you experiencing today as we are journeying through this Lenten Adventure?
Over a 48-day period (from Ash Wednesday through the Monday after Easter), you and I will be taking a deeper look at the stories surrounding the life and ministry of Jesus (especially the last week known as Holy Week) as recorded in the Gospel of Luke. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Our Lenten Journey home page for ease of use.
If you like what you’re reading, might we suggest you share this page with others!