Summary: The story of God with his people Israel is an ongoing story. The God of Israel is faithful to his promises and his covenants.
Jerusalem high above, Jerusalem, the city in the hills.
If you have ever been in the Holy Land and you are aquainted with the geography there - then you know why it is called so.
The city of Jerusalem is built high in the Judaen hills, about 2,600 ft above sea level. The Dead Sea on the other hand is located far below sea level.
So there is a vertical interval of about 3,800 ft for instance from Jericho all the way up to Jerusalem.
And it is amazing that it takes just about 20 miles to climb up those 3,800 ft. Therefore the way up from Jericho to Jerusalem is steep, every now and then extremely steep.
When I was a student of theology I went after my Hebrew exam for a 4 week trip to Israel. During this trip I took a bus ride from Jericho to Jerusalem.
Because it is so steep, the buses going up there can only move very slowly, often times using winding roads. And then finally after about an hour drive, you can see the silhouette of the Holy city in front of you.
It is a beautiful sight. You look right at the ancient city, surrounded by a mighty wall and above all the temple Mount with the socalled Dome of the Rock.
Jesus didn´t take the bus. He and his disciples had to walk - a hard and tough journey, a journey that lasted at least a whole day.
Jesus was probably totally exhausted when he arrived at the Mount of Olives. From there he could also overlook the whole city, especially the holy distrct and the temple of God.
From the Mount of Olives, which is from the east, you go down the Kidron valley, and then later, again uphill, in order to get inside the walls of the city.
Now I am imagining that Jesus is standing down in the Kidron valley and from there he is looking up to the city walls,……………….. and he is weeping.
St. Luke writes: "He came closer to the city, and when he saw it, he wept over it."
Jesus is weeping. Jesus is able to weep. I personally find this fascinating. Jesus, the Son of God, is able to show his emotions candidly. This is especially amazing to me being a man.
A boy doesn´t cry or weep, I already had to listen to when I was young. A boy and a man is supposed to be tough. However I don´t think that is right. It is often times just the opposite.
In difficult situations it can be important to weep, important for our emotional balance. It can release and take away the pressure inside of us and around us.
Weeping is part of our human existence, weeping liberates. It´s nothing to be ashamed of.
This is something we can learn from Jesus. He shows his emotions. He shows his sympathy for the poor and sick, his love for children and outsiders, and also his fear of death in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Whenever Jesus shows his emotions, then he is very close to me. Then he is totally my brother and my friend. The weeping Christ is a comfort for me especially in difficult times of my life.
Jesus is weeping because he is sad. He does not weep because he is angry or hates his people.
Jesus is sad because he loves his Jerusalem. Jesus was a Jew. Already when he was a young boy he went frequently from Nazareth to Jerusalem. He is aquainted with this city, he loves the temple of the Lord, the most sacred place of his people Israel.
However he is anticipatind, yes, he is even seeing right in front of him that this city will end soon in a terrible disaster. And Jesus is sad because in this moment he feels helpless, and he says:
"If you (Jerusalem) only knew today what is needed for peace! But now you cannot see it!"
Jesus comes to Jerusalem to help, yet most people ignore his message. His Jerusalem does not grasp what is needed for peace. It does not understand: Jesus is coming as a peace maker.
Jews and Gentiles are supposed to be reconciled now. Through the peace maker Jesus Christ the gate to God is now wide open for all people. Jews and Romans and all other nations can live together in peace.
Jesus is sad, and later St. Paul and the first Jewish Christians, because their people Israel cannot confess Christ as the Lord and that they cannot go the same way with us Christians.
However their sadness has changed in Christian tradition into anger and hatred up until recent times. For almost our whole Church history Christians had taught a theology of contempt.