“And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,”
Jesus had visited Jerusalem numerous times before and was repeatedly rejected by the religious leaders. This visit was somewhat different, for soon He would be betrayed and crucified. As we see Him in our text, He is beholding the city. He is weeping because He knows the judgment that will come upon these people in a few years. Jesus saw the city, but He must have seen more than the buildings and streets. He saw the people and knew what great calamities they would experience.
The word that is translated as “wept” indicates sobbing, or wailing aloud. The heart of our Savior was broken by what He was seeing. This is our great God. He loves people. He cares about the destiny of people. God does not enjoy seeing people chastised, but He is just and must judge sin. He weeps over their rebellion and rejection of the truth. What does He see in our community, our nation, and our world? We need to see as He sees. Lamentations 3:51 says, “Mine eye affecteth mine heart.” It is true. What we see affects how we feel.
A long, deliberate look at our world would benefit us. Sometimes we look at sinners, viewing only the damage they have done to society. We can become calloused to their plight. We see them as lawbreakers, rebels, and a menace. Jesus did not look at His world in anger or hardness; He looked at them through eyes of compassion. When we look at them as He looks at them, we see that they are blind and in bondage. Unless something happens in their hearts, they will spend eternity in hell. One of the reasons we do not see our communities as Jesus does is because we look at them from a great distance. Our text records, “when he was come near.” We need a closer look at the perishing world that we live in.
All of us know that we are not to depend on the world for our entertainment or fellowship. But we are the means that God will use to impact our world with the Gospel. If we do not care for them, who will? We need to ponder the end of those who ignore the Words of God. We need to see them as prospects and not problems. Behind every face is a soul for which Jesus died. Jesus wept, as He knew that He would soon finish His task and return to Heaven. We too will one day soon finish our work on earth. May we care while we can.