Jesus gazes upon Jerusalem, that ancient city of kings and prophets, and he weeps. Yes, he weeps, like a tempestuous river crashing against unyielding cliffs. It’s a sight both perplexing and harrowing. Jesus, the embodiment of grace and mercy, shedding tears of lamentation. That doesn’t make sense, does it? Unfortunately, it does, but not in the way we imagine.
The long-awaited Son of Man has finally come, riding high on the crest of a tumultuous entry into the city, hailed as a king by the masses, yet fully aware of the impending tempest of chaos about to be unleashed. His eyes, those windows to the soul of God himself, survey the very heart of Jerusalem, that sprawling theater of human folly and grandeur. The city, a patchwork of piety and pretense, of prayers and power games, sprawls beneath his gaze. He sees it all, from the righteous to the wretched, from the pompous priest to the beggar on bruised knees. And what does he do? He weeps. But, these are not the gentle tears of a weak man. No, these are the tears of divine wrath, the anguished cries of a lover scorned.
And this is not a melodramatic display. This is a revelation of cosmic magnitude, a glimpse into the divine heart that pulses with furious rage and fierce love. When Jesus weeps, we see the collision of God's boundless compassion and his unyielding demand for justice. A collision so cataclysmic that even the grandeur of Solomon's temple, that symbol of human religious ambition, quivers in its presence. Jesus, the harbinger of divine anarchy in the kingdom of sinful complacency, foretells the shattering of earthly gods. The very walls of the temple, adorned with gold and grandiosity, will crumble, not a stone left upon a stone, divine anarchy unleashed upon stiff-necked order.
When Jesus weeps, we see the collision of God's boundless compassion and his unyielding demand for justice.
And as the chaos unfolds, the merchants and money-changers, those opportunistic vultures who feed on the desperation of the devout, become unwitting instruments of divine fury. Picture it. The tables overturned, coins scattered like lost dreams, the cacophony of commerce meeting the crescendo of divine rage. This is not the serene Jesus we often conjure in our minds, the gentle shepherd with a lamb cradled in his arms. No, this is the God who flung stars into the sky, who carved canyons with reckless abandon, now venting his tempestuous wrath upon the profane pawns of avarice.
But do not mistake this for a petty vendetta, a divine tantrum. No, this is the cosmic battle between God Almighty and the forces that seek to chain his grace in the shackles of human enterprise. The temple, once a sanctuary for sacred encounter, now reeks of greed and exploitation. The very dwelling place of the divine becomes a den of thieves. And so, the anarchic Messiah, the disruptor of pious lies and petty greed, casts off the chains, scatters the thieves, and reclaims the temple for its true purpose: a space where heaven and earth embrace in holy communion.
In the aftermath of this anarchic upheaval, the chief priests and scribes, those self-proclaimed gatekeepers of divine understanding, gnash their teeth in righteous indignation. Their meticulously constructed order, their religious rigidity, shattered like glass under the hammer of divine anarchy. But here is the crux of God’s revelation - in their furious opposition to the divine chaos Jesus brings, they unwittingly fulfill the very prophecies they claim to uphold. God plays his hand, and the pieces fall exactly where he intended.
So, what does this tumultuous tale from antiquity reveal to us, you may ask? It is a stark reminder, a thunderous wake-up call, that the God we dare to try to comprehend is beyond our feeble attempts at containment. Our religious traditions, our time-tested worship practices, our neatly packaged theological explanations of the who, what, and how of God, all crumble in the face of his divine anarchy. The tears of Jesus, a baptism of wrath and grace, cleanse the temple of our assumptions, leaving us naked before the divine mystery. This God, who weeps and rages, who disrupts and rebuilds, defies all our attempts at taming him. He is the Ancient of Days, the Lord of Armies, Almighty Maker of the heavens and the earth. Our God is a lion, not a house cat!
And this is where God meets us; not in the safety of our schedules, surrounded by the things that provide a false sense of security, but on the raggedy edge of chaos and order, where he compels us to live by grace, through faith, in him alone.
So we can give up on maintaining our pious pretenses and release our grip on the false gods of control and certainty, and with trembling hands, receive all the gifts this wild, untamed God pours into them.
It is in that trembling, in that surrender to the anarchic currents of God’s grace and mercy, that he gives us our true identity. We are not masters of theological formulas, not religious do-gooders, not people who have things (mostly) under control. Instead, we are as his children; children of the Heavenly Father.
He isn’t going to offer us a glass of wine and a warm blanket. He’s not going to sit with us and hold our hand while we cry about how unfair life is. He’s not going to brush away our sin and unbelief with a chuckle and a wink. Instead, he’s going to crush us with his furious anger because of our sin and unbelief. Then, he’s going to give us a new life built entirely on his grace and mercy in Jesus Christ.
Why does Jesus weep for Jerusalem? For the same reason he weeps for us. Not because he is weak, but because we are. Not because he’s moved by our love for him, but because we’ve scorned his love in every way imaginable. Jesus weeps because his heart pulses with furious rage and fierce love. And his boundless compassion and unyielding demand for justice cannot be satisfied until the scales are balanced. And since this is impossible for us, he allows religious men to offer his body as a sacrifice for our sin, and godless men to spill his blood, shed for us for the forgiveness of sin.
This is God’s grace and mercy. This is real justice. This is our salvation.
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