Word from Scotland
by Sandy Shaw
As Jesus Christ approached Jerusalem and saw the city He wept over it. Luke Chapter 19 verse 41. There are different ways of looking at a city.
Some think of the city as the place of gateway to glamour and adventure and freedom and business and pleasure – a place to carve out your career.
To some born in the country, the city can appear like a prison with its towering buildings and noise and rushing around – and anonymity.
On this occasion, when Jesus came over the Mount of Olives what Jesus saw made Him weep.
Jesus saw the city as it really was – yes, it might be full of opportunities to some – but Jesus saw its sin and its sinfulness – and this was Jerusalem – the city of peace!
Behind every pair of curtains there lie problems – and Jesus knew this – and Jesus knows this.
Thousands of visitors were there for the Passover – it was like today’s Christmas Eve – lights and carols and decorations and special television programmes and food and drink and parties and debt and adultery and sin.
Many would be tired and footsore and weary when they reached Jerusalem for the Passover – some like Simon of Cyrene would have travelled as far as North Africa – others from Macedonia and Rome.
Some might have been dreaming of this day for years – wanting to go to Jerusalem.
This is the city of David. Ah, we see the walls glinting in the spring sunshine – look, there is the Temple.
Be careful you do not bump into any Roman soldiers – their swords are sharp – and many do not want this posting – it is too far from Rome.
“Glorious things of thee are spoken – Zion city of our God.”
Emotions would be high – there would be heightened excitement – it is almost Passover.
But – one Man stands there and looks and weeps.
The bravest Man who ever lived is weeping. He was no weakling with fluctuating up and down emotions – like many of us.
He had a strong heart – He was no kill joy. One of His characteristic phrases was “Be of good cheer” – cheer up! He was no sentimentalist, either.
Within a few days as he carried a cross through these streets – an emotional follower cried out from the crowd – “Blessed be the mother who bore you and the breast where your head lay – He turned round at once and rebuked these sentimental words – “Do not say that – say rather – Blessed are they who hear the Word of God and do it.”
We must never sentimentalise the Word of God – but march in step with its commands and challenges.
Is there not always something upsetting in a man’s tears – but in this man’s tears! Jesus, we did not expect this – not at party time – not at Passover – not when we have come to remember and rejoice and celebrate.
King David, who was king in this city, knew what it was to weep over his son Absalom. Within a week Peter would be weeping realising he had denied Jesus three times.
Contrast these tears with what had gone a few hours earlier – “Ride on Ride on in majesty!” That was an hour of pageant and cavalcade and festival and Hosannas – and now this!
The royal Son of David – the servant King – is in tears. These are tears flowing from the heart of God. Does that not shake us?
He who sits in the heavens shall laugh says the Psalmist – but we also know that there are times when He weeps. At the heart of the government of the universe is this infinite compassion. Might that be what you are looking for?
Why was Jesus so visibly distressed? He knew what was going to happen – but He was not about to lose His nerve.
“Weep not for me” were his words to the daughters of Jerusalem.
What did He see at this time of celebration and festival? He saw what was going to happen to Jerusalem! With His prophetic insight, Jesus saw what was going to happen some forty years later – when the Temple was razed to the ground – never to be resurrected.
He saw the rain descending – the floods coming – the winds blowing – and beating upon this house of national pride, that crucified the Messiah.
On what are we basing our confidence? Every civilisation – every secular society – every national culture – has had its day, and has ceased to be.
This is not to drive us into melancholy and sadness – but to make us know that underneath are the everlasting arms.
Luke 13 verse 34 – This is not the first time Jesus has spoken in such terms.
Jesus also saw the blindness of human ideals. We see how men are groping around searching for answers to the world’s massive needs and problems and pains. “If only you had known.”
The Sanhedrin and the priests and scribes and political zealots could not bring peace to the city.
No wonder the rejected Prince of Peace was weeping! Jesus saw that this was a time of divine visitation and the people were blind and the people were saying “NO”! Chapter 19 verse 44.
They were unaware that God was visiting them. They did not know God’s redeeming saving word was being spoken.
This Jesus is still full of compassion – still able to rescue and redeem and forgive and empower and equip and heal and guide and lead and inspire and encourage and strengthen.
In this baffled confused bewildered generation – people will remain so – unless they hear from us the truth of Jesus Christ – His shed blood to forgive the past – to forgive sin – to remove guilt – and His resurrection power to thrust us out into the present darkness which is no darker today than it was then – but that same darkness still needs the light of Jesus Christ.
“O Lord God Almighty – hear us as we pray – asking You to visit us again through the power of the Holy Spirit. Father, have mercy upon us. Compassionate Christ, we pray for this world so full of pain and hurt and sadness and tragedy. We humbly bow – but look to You, loving Father, in Jesus Name. Amen.”
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Alexander 'Sandy' Shaw is pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship in Nairn, Scotland. Nairn is 17 miles east of Inverness - on the Moray Firth Coast - not far from the Loch Ness Monster!
Gifted as a Biblical teacher, Sandy is firmly committed to making sure that his teachings are firmly grounded in the Word.
Sandy has a weekly radio talk which can be heard via the Internet on Saturday at 11:40am, New Orleans time, at wsho.com.
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