Focus Text: Luke 19.41-46

Passion and compassion are closely connected words. In fact, if one looks closely at the word compassion, he will find passion nested inside of it. Passion defined connects with love, affection, devotion, and similar emotions for some thing or some one. By definition, compassion connects with other people. As people, we may be passionate about many things, e.g., our jobs, our cars, our boats, our things! However, compassion defined involves other human beings and feelings of empathy for their condition. Jesus was passionate and compassionate. Jerusalem as a city was passionate, but as a rule, the dimension of compassion was largely deficient in that great first century city.

“Now as He [Jesus] drew near, He saw the city and wept over it [Jerusalem], saying, ‘If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.’ Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it, saying to them, ‘It is written, “My house is a house of prayer,” but you have made it a “den of thieves.”’” (Luke 19.41-46).

The temple was a symbol of Jewish national pride. It was the place where the LORD had so marvelously manifested His presence during the days of Solomon (see 2 Chronicles 7.1ff). It was the place where worship on special days had been appointed, and that to the exclusion of all other places (see John 4.20-24). However, these earmarks of the nation and of the temple were temporary in nature; God had never intended that the temple be a permanent place of worship, or that the sacrificial rites performed there be permanent in nature. In pride and arrogance, Jerusalem accepted God’s blessings, but refused to heed His direction! This condition, the spiritual condition of this great city, is what caused Jesus to weep. It is obvious that our Lord was a man of great compassion.

It is equally obvious that Jerusalem was a city of great passion. Religious leaders of great zeal filled her streets; they even went so far in their zeal as to make sure that they were not accidentally tainted by even so much as unknown contact with a Gentile. They carefully bathed in a ceremonial fashion when they came in from the streets and markets lest they carry some defilement from chance association with others (see Mark 7.1-5). To say that they were not people of great passion, even “religious” passion, is to ignore the clear facts of the matter. However, it was not Jerusalem’s lack of passion that caused our Lord to weep over her; it was her lack of compassion.

We will continue these thoughts, but we would do well to note that Jesus Christ was a man of truth AND compassion! Without compassion, He could never have become our Savior!

Questions:

1. Define passion.

2. Define compassion.

3. What evidence do you read in the Bible that shows the passion that dwelt within the hearts of the inhabitants of Jerusalem?

4. In today’s focus text, what is the apparent cause of Jesus’ weeping?