And when he (Jesus) had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
And when he (Jesus) drew near and saw the city, he wept over it saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” Luke 19:28-44 (ESV)
There are two instances in Scripture where it is recorded that Jesus wept. When His friend Lazarus died, Jesus wept. (John 11:35) He weeps again here, not for Himself, but from the city of Jerusalem and the people of Israel. Even though Jesus is the one going to His death, He weeps over the fate of the people who are right around Him, the people who He came to save, the people who reject Him.
The Pharisees wanted Jesus to keep His disciples quiet, but instead, Jesus reminds the Pharisees that, “if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork,“ as we learn in Psalm 19:1. Yet we don’t always see or acknowledge God’s hands in all things. Even as God’s people we are afraid to share the love of God and the good news of the Gospel. We don’t know what to say or when or how to say it. We have friends and family who hear the Good News but it doesn’t register with them, just like the people of Jerusalem who had Jesus come to them in flesh and they couldn’t recognize Him for Who He was.
Jesus knew that He was on the hard, long road to Calvary as He came to the city of Jerusalem. He also knew what was going to happen in Jerusalem in about another 35 years. In 70 AD the Romans captured and destroyed the city of Jerusalem. Jesus wept for the people in the city who had no idea who He was. Jesus wept knowing that most of them would never know that He came to die to save them from their sins. Jesus knew that many of His people would die without ever hearing the life-saving Gospel and coming to faith in Him.
Are we disturbed by the thought of people who Jesus bled and died to save are lost because they never heard the Good News? The apostle Paul teaches us that saving faith in Jesus comes by hearing (Romans 10:17.) The Holy Spirit works through the preaching of the Gospel and the teaching of God’s Word. Not everyone who hears will come to faith, and it is the Holy Spirit who works through preaching and teaching. So all we can do is what we are told to do as believers in Jesus- preach the Word, tell the truth, and pray for those around us.
Do we weep – and pray- for those right here in our own community who haven’t heard about Jesus? Do we reach out in love to those who have not yet come to saving faith, or are we going to leave it to the stones to cry out?
It’s by the grace of God that anyone comes to saving faith in Jesus. It is a gift. But God works through means, which means He works in and through His body, His followers, the church. We cannot stay silent.
Lord, give us the courage to be bold in our faith and to live lives that glorify You. Help us to share our faith and to pray for those who have not heard and who have not been brought to faith in You yet.