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Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
June 4, 2023 12:01 am

Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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June 4, 2023 12:01 am

The people of Israel long awaited the day when God would visit them. But when God incarnate walked among them at last, they failed to recognize Him. Today, R.C. Sproul continues his series in the gospel of Luke, expressing the weight of Jesus' lamentation over the city of Jerusalem.

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We read in John's Gospel that when Christ came into this world of darkness, He came to His own, but His own received Him not. Before the raising of Lazarus, Jesus famously wept. In many English translations, it's the shortest verse in the Bible, simply reading, Jesus wept.

But did you know that's not the only time that He cried? Hi, I'm Nathan W. Bingham, and thank you for joining us today for this Sunday edition of Renewing Your Mind. Jesus wept before Lazarus was raised, but He also wept over Jerusalem, knowing that this city would soon fall. As R.C. Sproul continues preaching through the Gospel of Luke, today he retells this weighty moment in the ministry of Jesus and the warning that each of us should heed.

Here's Dr. Sproul. Well, this morning we're going to continue our study of the Gospel according to St. Luke. We're in chapter 19, and I will be reading from verse 41 through verse 48, and I'd ask the congregation please to stand for the reading of the Word of God. And when He 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. And 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. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, saying to them, It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of robbers. And He was teaching daily in the temple. And the chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy Him, but they did not find anything that they could do, for all the people were hanging on His Word. Again, we are blessed to receive this Word, superintended by God the Holy Spirit, and inspired also by Him. This is the unvarnished Word of God, and I pray that you will receive it as such, and that the Lord will give you ears to hear His Word.

Please be seated. Let us pray. Our Father and our God, again we beseech you to have mercy upon us, to draw near unto us, that we may give heed to the truth of your Word, and that you who inspired this original text might work through it to open our hearts to its truth, for we ask it in Jesus' name.

Amen. In our last time together, we looked at the account of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and this text then picks up in the following verse, after Jesus had responded to the rebuke of the Pharisees when He said that if His disciples would be silenced, the very stones would cry out. And now our Lord, as we read, drew near and saw the city. He was approaching this circuitous route from Bethany across the Valley of Kidron and coming in at an angle to Jerusalem with its walls 150 feet high, the city that had been the central sanctuary for centuries since David had moved his headquarters to that town, Jerusalem, the city of peace. And now when Jesus looked at Jerusalem, the cheers of all of the people had been ringing in His ears. Everybody was screaming, Hosanna, Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.

But Jesus was weeping. He looked at this city, and as He cried, He said, Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace. Now they are hidden from your eyes, and 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 they will tear you down to the ground, you and your children with you.

They won't leave a single stone left upon another comma. And then He gives the reason why not a stone would be left on the city of Jerusalem in the temple because He said, You did not know the time of your visitation. We need to listen carefully to this wrenching lamentation that Jesus gave over the city. Just earlier when He approached Jerusalem on another occasion, as Luke recorded, He cried as well, and He said, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who have sent to you, would that I could have gathered you to Myself as a hen gathers her chicks.

But you would not. We read in John's gospel that when Christ came into this world of darkness, He came to His own, but His own received Him not. And so on this occasion when He enters the city with tears rolling down His cheeks, He said, This is supposed to be the holy city. The city set on a hill, the city of peace, Jerusalem. Jesus had spoken of the peace that would be His final legacy when in a few days He would gather with His disciples in the upper room and say, Peace, I leave with you. My peace I give unto you.

Let not your heart be troubled. And now Jerusalem had become a secular city, and they missed the Prince of Peace who was riding on a donkey coming to His own people. They had no idea what that peace would all be about, and He warned them once again as He had before and would be more comprehensive in His warnings very soon in the next chapters to come of the impending judgment and destruction of Jerusalem. If there was anything absolutely unthinkable in the mind of the Jew, it was that this holy city, which was one of the wonders of the ancient world, built with the magnificent architecture of the Herodian rocks that were established there, impregnable, impossible to destroy, would be left in ruins centuries earlier when the weeping prophet Jeremiah approached it and listened to the rituals of the people as they were reciting in their liturgy, This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord. And Jeremiah said, You say these things, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, but you trust in lying words, words that cannot profit you. Previously, the central sanctuary before it had been established in Jerusalem was in Shiloh, and in the days of Jeremiah, Shiloh was in ruins, and its buildings were covered by vines and weeds amidst the ruins. And Jeremiah said, You think this is the temple of the Lord? Go to Shiloh and look at it because this is what Jerusalem will become. And now Jesus said, Your enemies will come near. They will surround you. They will build barricades.

They will use inventions and implements of wars such as you had never dreamed possible. And within one generation, the armies of Rome invaded the nation, and their chief general in the midst of a crisis that had happened in the city of Rome was summoned back to Rome in order to become emperor, and he left instructions for his son Titus to continue the invasion of Israel. And under his leadership, Titus brought these troops to surround Jerusalem, and the instructions that had been given to him by the emperor, his father. Every man, woman, and child in that city shall be destroyed. We think of World War II and the atrocities committed by Hitler against the Jewish people as the Holocaust.

The first Holocaust was here in 70 A.D. when Josephus tells us that 1,100,000 Jews, men, women, and children were annihilated in Jerusalem, and not one stone was left upon another as the city was burned to the ground. And while the Romans surrounded the city, they built barricades, ramparts in order to approach the city after a lengthy period of siege. While they encamped around the city, they camped on the Mount of Olives, and these olive trees that filled the hills that had been there for 200, 300 years were laid waste by the invaders, the Roman soldiers, in order to keep themselves warm during the siege, cut every single olive tree down and denuded the Mount of Olives before the attack came.

And they built these machines that would hurl huge stones across the walls and into the walls and set the city ablaze, and they came in and killed them all. And that's what Jesus said would happen. And in anticipating that destruction, this city that He loved so much, He visited as a boy when He was 12 years old, in anticipation of going through His Bar Mitzvah the next year, there we are told that He was so captivated by Jerusalem that He spent His time in the temple discussing theology with the rabbis and the jurists of the hour. He was so preoccupied that when His parents were ready to leave to go back to Nazareth that Mary thought that Jesus was with Joseph, and Joseph thought that Jesus was with Mary, and they weren't communicating, and they got together, and you know the story. They departed, and they left their son behind. And after they were traveling together, Mary says, Where's Jesus? Joseph says, I don't know.

I thought He was with you. Mary says, Well, I thought He was with you. So they had to turn around and retrace their paces and came back, and when they found Him, He was in the temple, in His element, preaching, teaching, discussing theology as a 12-year-old kid with the experts. And this child prodigy was astonishing them with his wisdom, and Mary's heart was broken, and she was torn between joy and anger to see her son still alive. She said, What were you thinking?

Where have you been? And the child rebuked his mother, Didn't you know that I had to be about my father's business? Never did a boy know more theology in the history of the world than this young man did who astounded the scholars on that day. And every year after that, the annual celebration of the Passover would take place, and Jesus and His family would go up to Jerusalem and participate in the Passover.

He loved the city. He would go through the rituals on the Day of Atonement where all the pilgrims would come to the central sanctuary to give their offerings to God. But now when He came, as He was about to die, He came not in joy, but His heart was heavy as we would learn later that the Scriptures tell us that Jesus was entering into His sorrows. He was approaching His passio magna, His great passion where He would be forced by the Father to drink the cup of His wrath. He knew what waited for Him there, but still He loved the city, and He said, You didn't understand peace. And then He fully explained the ultimate reason for the destruction of Jerusalem. Listen to what He said, they will not leave one stone upon another in you because, that's about ready to tell us the explanation, because you did not know the time of your visitation. What? All of this is going to happen to our people and to Jerusalem because we didn't know the time of our visitation? What are you talking about?

What time of visitation do you have in mind? To understand that, we need to go back a few pages in Luke's gospel to one of the infancy hymns that occur in Luke's gospel, in this case, the song of Zechariah. You're familiar with it. We sing it every time we celebrate the Lord's communion, the Lord's Supper, and we call it the Benedictus. And in the last part of the Benedictus, we read the prediction that the angel had given to the impending birth of John the Baptist who would be the forerunner of the Messiah. And he said, you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High. You will go before the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people in the forgiveness of their sins because of the tender mercy of our God. Whereby the sunrise, the Anatole, shall visit us from on high. The dawn would announce the coming visitation.

Now throughout the Old Testament, there was a time of understanding and hope for the coming of the presence of God in the midst of His people. Sometimes it was called the day of visitation, sometimes even more simply, it was called the day of the Lord. When it was called the day of visitation, there was a play on the word here that we find in the New Testament Greek, which is the noun word episkopos.

You're familiar with that term. You maybe not know any Greek, but you're familiar with that one because it's translated or transliterated into the English language by the term episcopal. And what is an episcopal church?

An episcopal church is a church that is ruled over by episcopoi, that is, by those who are charged with visiting and tending and looking at and looking after and caring for the flock. The word episkopos can be broken down into a prefix, and the root, the root scopus, is very familiar to all of us. It has to do with an instrument that you use to look at things. You look at a microscope, little things, or you look at through a telescope that look at things in the distance, and the same root scope is there.

You put a scope on a rifle and so on. When you take the prefix epi, all that does is intensify the root, and it means super scope, super looking, or from the Latin, a super visor. In the ancient world, the episkopos in the military was the commanding general who would come from time to time in many times unannounced and unexpected by the troops to inspect the troops to see if they were prepared and ready militarily. And so they would be assembled for inspection, and if the troops weren't ready for battle, it was a time of judgment because the general would come down with a hard fist of discipline upon those who were not ready for battle.

On the other hand, if the general would see that the troops were well prepared and well equipped and prepared for any conflict, they would receive his praise and honor. Translated over into religious categories, the episkopos was the one who would visit his people, the ultimate general, God Himself, who would now visit His people through the one whom He would name the Bishop of our souls, even Jesus. And so the people looked for that moment when God would come as Emmanuel and be present in the midst of His people, the day of the Lord. And it was a time of joyous anticipation until the secularization of Israel and the nation falling away from the covenant that they had made with their God.

And now the prophets would rebuke them. People like Amos would say, you look forward to the day of the Lord, the day of His visitation. But I say to you, the day of the Lord is a day of darkness.

There's no light in it. It's doomsday, judgment day. And then came the incarnation where the Word was made flesh and God dwelt in the midst of His people. And now Jesus is looking at those people with tears in His eyes, and He said, your city will be left until you desolate because, He said, you didn't know the time of your visitation. Then Luke moves to what happens when Jesus entered the city and then went inside the temple. And when He went in the temple, He started to drive those people out of the courts of the temple in fury and in anger.

This isn't the first time He had done it. He had done it at the beginning of His public ministry when He found the money changers assembled there, exploiting the people and turning God's house into a house of iniquity. And now He comes in and He sees the pilgrims being bled to death by this collusion that had taken place between the priests and the Pharisees and the merchants, and they realized that hundreds of thousands of people would come up every year for the Passover. And it would be difficult and laborious for them to bring the animals that they were going to use to sacrifice, whether they be turtle doves or sheep or goats or whatever. And since they came without their animals and livestock, the merchants prepared a store in the temple where they could exchange their money and they could buy their livestock to use as sacrifices.

And it was like the floor of the Chicago commodities exchange, buy, buy, sell, sell. And this is this cacophony of sounds going on where people were bidding for the goods that were being sold in the temple. And Jesus looked at that, and now His mood changes from sorrow into fury, and He says, what have you done? He said, it is written, my house, my house shall be a house of prayer, but you've made it a den of robbers. Do you know what's written on the front of your bulletin that you see every Sunday when you come to church?

Look on the front page. It announces the name of this place, St. Andrew's Chapel. It describes us as a Reformed congregation. And then at the bottom of the page we read these words, we cross the threshold of the secular to the sacred, from the common to the uncommon, from the profane to the holy. You walk through the door back there.

You're crossing a threshold. You're entering into a building that is a sacred place. It's holy ground.

It's different from other buildings. Oh, I know the modern movement today is to do everything they can to disguise the sanctity of the building of the church and to turn it into a commonplace meeting house to make sure there's nothing that hints of the holy, to make sure that pagans are as comfortable as they can feel when they enter into this place and cross that transition. But beloved, you can worship God anywhere.

We know that. You can pray to God anywhere. You can pray in your bedroom. You can pray in your car. You can pray as you're walking down the street or jogging.

You know that. And yet, when God commanded His people to build a house for Him, He said, I want it to be a holy place, a house of prayer where you can come privately and corporately and lift up the sacrifices of your praises in prayer to God. It's a sacred place.

It's uncommon. It's not profane. The word profane literally, etymologically, meant out of the temple, outside of the holy place, the world in all of its profanity. And Jesus is saying, you've taken the holy and made it profane. You've made it a den of robbers.

You've secularized My house. And then He was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and scribes and the principal men of the people tried to kill Him. They couldn't find anything to do against Him.

Why? Because away from the noise and the screaming cacophony of the bidding of the merchants, Jesus would call the people aside, and He would begin to teach them truth. And they were hanging on every word. Beloved, when you come to church to hear the Word of God, as boring as I might be or any other preacher might be, if you're hearing the Word of God, are you hanging on it, on every single word? When Jesus was in the wilderness, He said, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God. And in this very hour, you're hearing the Word of God.

Does it go in one ear, not the other? Do you yawn and look at your watch? We need to hang on the words of Jesus. And this is the place to do it, a house of prayer, holy ground to hear His holy Word.

Do not miss His day of visitation. A sober reminder from R.C. Sproul on this Sunday edition of Renewing Your Mind. Today's sermon was just one of 113 that R.C. Sproul preached at St. Andrew's Chapel through Luke's Gospel, and these sermons, they formed the foundation for his expositional commentary on Luke. And today, for your donation of any amount, at renewingyourmind.org, we'll give you digital access to the eBook edition of his commentary on Luke, so you can dig deeper into the life and ministry of Jesus. So give your gift today by visiting renewingyourmind.org. Jesus told the chief priests and the scribes that the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. How did they understand what Jesus was saying? That's what R.C. Sproul will consider next Sunday here on Renewing Your Mind. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-04 03:04:14 / 2023-06-04 03:13:30 / 9

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