Weeping Over the City
Weeping Over the City
Our emotions reveal what we love.
I love my family When I’m with my family and when I’m talking about my family, I can’t help but feel grateful and smile.
I love my favorite teams, and my emotions are evidence of that love. I’m a huge Braves fan, and I was at the final game of the season last year when they gave up 10 runs in the first inning. How did I feel as I sat there and watched that historic meltdown? Embarrassed, frustrated, and disappointed. Last night, I was bummed because my Tar Heels lost to Duke.
Tuesday morning, I received a text from one of my closest friends. His daughter, Michelle, just 55 years old, is nearing the end of her battle with cancer. As I walked into her hospital room on Tuesday, everybody was weeping. Why? They love Michelle deeply.
We all show emotion when we love something or someone. It’s why we cheer at ballgames, clap at concerts, and cry at funerals. In the last 6 years, my wife and I have lost 6 grandparents. As I spoke at all their funerals, I spoke with tears in my eyes. Why? Because I loved them.
Jesus showed emotion when He walked on this earth. He showed joy in obeying God because He loved God. He showed compassion for the sick and the poor because He loved them. He grieved when his close friend, Lazarus, died because He loved him. One of the greatest examples of his love is what he did less than a week before he died on the cross. What did he do? He wept over the city of Jerusalem. He cried because he cared for people. His tears revealed his heart for people. His emotions flowed from his love for people.
Looking at this example of Jesus today is important for all of us. Why? Because we all need to be amazed at how much Jesus loves us. When we’re amazed at his love for us, we can’t help but love Him back. When we’re amazed at Christ’s love for us, we can’t help but love the people around us. When we’re amazed at Christ’s love for us, we can’t help but follow Him in every area of our lives—in our marriages, our parenting, our jobs, our money, our time, and our relationships.
So as we approach Easter in 2020, we’re going to look at how Jesus approached the city of Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. And let’s be amazed at how much Jesus loves us today. Here we go—Luke 19, verse 41.
Luke 19:41 (NIV)
41 As he approached Jerusalem (what would happen in Jerusalem?) and saw the city, he wept over it
In less than a week, he was going to hang on a cross as Savior and then come up out of the grave as King. But not the King that some of the people wanted. Some people in Jerusalem, particularly the Jewish leaders, did not follow Jesus as King.
Some saw Jesus as a threat to their control.
Some saw Jesus as a threat to their traditions.
Some saw Jesus as a political ruler.
Some saw Jesus only as a great teacher.
Some saw Jesus only as a miracle worker who could be used to meet their needs.
And this broke the heart of Jesus—to the point of tears. He loved the people of Jerusalem—even if they didn’t love Him back. He loved them—even if they didn’t see Him as King. He loved them—even if they didn’t follow Him. He loved them—even if they didn't worship Him. He loved them—even though they were about to kill Him. He loved them. Period.
And guess what? Jesus loves you and everybody here in this room—whether you love Him or not. Jesus loves you—no matter what you’ve done in the past. Jesus loves you—no matter what religion you are. Jesus loves you—no matter what race or color you are. Jesus loves you. Period.
Luke 19:42 (NIV)
41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.
Jesus was going to the cross so that they could have peace—peace that only He can provide. Not world peace. Not peace that is free from trouble. Not peace that is without persecution. Not peace that is based on circumstances. But peace with God. Jesus came, lived, died, and rose from the dead so that we could have peace with God.
What does it mean to have peace with God? It means that because of Jesus we can go from being enemies with God to being friends with God. It means that because of Jesus we can go from rebelling against God to having a relationship with God. It means that because of Jesus we can go from being condemned by God to being adopted by God. It means that because of Jesus we can go from being separated from God for eternity to enjoying the presence of God for eternity. Peace with God. What an amazing, loving offer from Jesus. Seems too good to be true. Like a gift you would not turn down.
But people in Jerusalem had rejected Jesus as their loving, Peace-Giving King. They had rejected God’s Son. Jesus wept because He knew judgment was coming.
Luke 19:43-44 (NIV)
43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
Their rebellion against God led to judgment from God. 40 years later, in 70 AD, the Romans invaded this holy city of Jerusalem and destroyed it. Jesus knew this was going to happen. But he didn’t rejoice in their fate. He wept. Why? He loved them. He longed for them to love Him and follow Him. They missed out on their opportunity to follow Jesus because they rejected Him. Jesus came from heaven to earth to visit them, to knock on the door, but they didn’t let Him in. He was willing, but some people just weren’t willing.
In Luke 13:34, Jesus said this:
Luke 13:34 (NIV)
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”
What a sad picture of the people in Jerusalem who were not willing to follow Jesus. What a great picture of Jesus as loving, caring, compassionate, and willing to lead anyone in Jerusalem who was willing to follow Him. And it’s the same picture we have today. Jesus has not changed. He loves everyone and is willing to lead anyone who is willing to follow Him.
As we know, Jesus did not walk away from Jerusalem. He did not give up on people. He went all the way to the cross where He died so that we could have a relationship with Him and have peace with God. He loved us enough to die so that we could love Him and live for Him. He loved us enough to die in the city of Jerusalem so that we could love our city today.
That’s why we celebrate Easter. Easter is only a month away. Between now and Easter Sunday, what if you were so amazed at Jesus’ love for you that you grew in your love for Him? Between now and Easter Sunday, what if you were so amazed at Jesus’ love for you that you grew in your love for others? I believe there are some ways we can grow in our love for Jesus and for others this Easter season and beyond. Let’s look at least 2 ways this morning.
2 WAYS YOU CAN GROW IN YOUR LOVE FOR JESUS AND OTHERS THIS EASTER (AND BEYOND):
1. Follow Jesus as your loving KING.
Just as the religious people of Jerusalem didn't follow Jesus as King, so do many religious people today miss out on following Jesus as their loving King. They miss out on what the gospel is all about.
“The gospel is not about choosing to follow advice, it’s about being called to follow a King. What would your life look and feel like if you fully surrendered to this perfect King? Your work life? Love life? Family life? Financial life? Social life?”
There are 2 main faith groups in our city
Some in Atlanta are Jesus Fans. Some in Atlanta are Jesus Followers.
What are the differences?
Jesus Fans know about Jesus. . . . Jesus Followers know and love Jesus.
Jesus Fans believe that good people go to heaven. . . . Jesus Followers believe forgiven people go to heaven.
Jesus Fans give Jesus part of their lives. . . . Jesus Followers surrender every area of their lives to Him.
Jesus Fans see church as a club that exists to meet their needs. . . . Jesus Followers see church as a family on a mission to make disciples.
What Jesus desires is for His fans to become His followers. This is the story of Jodie Turner. Jodie is a member of our church. She serves weekly in our church and goes on mission to Thailand every year. She is a Jesus Follower. But she hasn’t always been. Watch this.
Jodie’s life did not change until she realized Jesus’s love for her and surrendered her life to Him. Jodie was a Jesus Fan, but became a Jesus Follower.
These are the two main faith groups in our city. Where do you sit? Which chair? Like it or not, believe it or not, Jesus is King. And as King, He has the right to rule your life and call the shots in your life. So follow Him as your loving King. And if you follow Him, you will grow in your love for Him and grow in your love for others.
2. PRAY for our city.
Jesus was so heartbroken over his city that He wept over it. He loved his city. One of the ways we can grow in our love for others in our city is to pray for our city. Why should we pray?
• We should pray for our city because everybody matters to Jesus. He created them. He loves them. And He is willing to lead anyone who is willing to follow Him.
o Last year, I was invited to speak to a group of Muslims in Cumming. They wanted me to share my thoughts on the attack at the mosque in New Zealand. And one of the things I said was, “As Christians, we stand united with you against such evil because we believe that everyone is made by God and everyone, no matter what their religion, deserves to be treated with love, dignity, and respect.” So we pray for our family members, friends, and neighbors. We pray for our Mormon friends, our Hindu friends, and our Muslim friends. We pray for the Jesus fans. They all matter to Jesus.
We should pray for our city because Jesus changes lives.
o We already saw Jodie’s story. We’re worshiping in this room today because Jesus has changed our lives. Yet there are tens of thousands of people in our city who have yet to be changed. So we must go, share, give, and pray—believing that if Jesus can change you and me, then He can change anybody.
• We should pray for our city because judgment is coming. Jesus wept for His city because He knew judgment was coming. And one day, Jesus will return as Judge.
Acts 17:31 (NIV)
For he [God] has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man [Jesus] he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”
One day, could be today, could be many years from now, Jesus will return to judge the world, including those in Atlanta, Georgia. Those who are followers of Jesus will receive their eternal reward, and those who are not followers of Christ will go away to eternal punishment. So while there’s still time, we must pray for our city.
-- How to Pray for Our City
Pray that the good news of Jesus would be boldly proclaimed in our local churches. Pray that our churches would be places for the broken, unwanted, and hurting. Pray that Christ will be offered as the only hope for life here and for eternity.
Imagine if we all were so amazed at Jesus’s love for us that we grew in our love for Him and for others. Imagine the difference that would make in our lives, in our families, in our church, and in our city. Imagine if we all followed Jesus as our loving King, surrendering every area of our lives to him every day. Imagine if we all loved our city so much that we prayed passionately for our city. Imagine if God answered our prayers and sent the greatest spiritual awakening in the history of our country right out of Atlanta, Georgia!
For God so loved you and me and Cumming and Alpharetta and Atlanta that He sent His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. Jesus loves us, this we know. So this Easter season, let’s be amazed. Let’s be amazed at His passion for us. Let’s be amazed at His faithfulness to us. Let’s be amazed at His willingness to lead us. And this Easter season and beyond, may Jesus find us ready and willing to follow.