OUR SOBBING, GRIEVING SAVIOR – Scene 1

 

By: Frank G. Tunstall

Over the years I thought about it I guess a hundred times, why didn’t the gospel writers tell us more about the raw suffering Jesus experienced leading up to the cross and the emotional pain that went with it? Then one day I decided to study the key passages in the Greek, and there it was – I found what I was looking for. Now I commend it to you, my reader.

Isaiah had prophesied over 700 years earlier that Messiah would be “despised and rejected,” a “man of sorrows” who would be “acquainted with grief.“ Isaiah also said He would have some bitter critics who would turn their backs to keep from looking at Him (Isaiah 53:3).

Six scenes stand out in in Jesus’ experience during Passion Week, leading up to His trial and crucifixion. They let us look inside His heart and feel His off-the-charts emotional agony. This study will be shared in a three-part series. Scene 1 follows.

1. At the beginning of the week, Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem in His triumphal entry. He paused to look at the beloved city and began to weep (Luke 19:41; see also John 11:35). The Greek word Luke used for weep communicates actual sobbing and even wailing. The only way for you to capture the moment is for you, as you read, to imagine the scene. Listen with the ears of your heart to what the disciples heard – Jesus’ sobbing and moaning, even as he prophesied:

“If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace — but now it is hidden from your eyes. 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. 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” (Luke 19:42-44 NIV).

Did you pay close attention and “hear” Jesus sobbing, and see His tears dropping to the ground, as He wailed over the city and predicted its destruction?

When is the last time you so strongly felt the burden for lost people that you actually cried and even moaned?

Jesus had confronted the curse of sin repeatedly in His ministry but the load He was carrying was beginning to mushroom as He rode the donkey into Jerusalem in His triumphal entry. Jesus felt deeply the city’s scorn that was directed at Him. He also knew the certain judgment that was ahead, just four short decades up the road.

The devastation that was pending for the City of David and its holy temple could have been prevented, if they had only known what would bring them peace. The solution started with acknowledging Jesus as the Prince of peace (Matthew 24:2; Isaiah 9:6).

I hope, dear reader, you “listened” better than Israel’s national leaders. The truth is, they closed their ears and their hearts, and did not take note at all.

Jesus’ prophecy came true some forty years later when Roman legions destroyed the city and the temple in 70 A.D. Many Jews prayed for their Messiah to come and save them. But they had rejected Him and continued to look for Him everywhere except at the foot of His cross.

I must needs go home by the way of the cross,
There’s no other way but this;
I shall ne’er get sight of the Gates of Light,
If the way of the cross I miss.
The way of the cross leads home,
The way of the cross leads home;
It is sweet to know, as I onward go,
The way of the cross leads home.
By: Jesse B. Pounds

It is very important in our generation, yes, necessary, for pastors and teachers to speak boldly of the wrath of God and the judgment to come, even on America (Acts 17:31; Hebrews 9:27). But we must proclaim it following the Lord’s example, with a broken heart and misty eyes. Failure here, when the pulpit is not full of on-fire gospel passion that springs out of a crushed heart, produces Christians with an anemic understanding of the exceeding wickedness of their personal sins. The results are always devastating. Yes, judgment begins “at the house of God” and if it starts first with us, what will “the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17 KJV).

Wounded for me, wounded for me,
There on the cross He was wounded for me;
Gone my transgressions, and now I am free,
All because Jesus was wounded for me.
Risen for me, risen for me,
Up from the grave He has risen for me;
Now evermore from death’s sting I am free,
All because Jesus has risen for me.
Coming for me, coming for me,
One day to earth He is coming for me;
Then with what joy His dear face I shall see,
O how I praise Him-—He’s coming for me
W. G. Ovens (1870 – 1945) 

[Scenes 2-5 will follow in Part Two.]

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