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Trinity 10 – Luke 19:41-48

by pastorjuhl ~ August 28th, 2012

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit

            How disturbing it must be for Jesus to look upon the city of peace (this is what Jerusalem means) and know her future. Not only will her inhabitants welcome Him as King of Kings riding on a colt, a foal of a donkey, but also they will demand His crucifixion. Less than 40 years later the city will be destroyed at the hands of Titus, whose father, Vespasian, did much of the damage before leaving the siege of the city to his son. We have accurate information concerning the siege and fall of Jerusalem thanks to Josephus, a 1st century Jewish historiographer. Josephus writes that 1.1 million people were killed in the siege of Jerusalem, many of them Jews. Another 97,000 were captured and enslaved.

Josephus wrote: “The slaughter within [Jerusalem] was even more dreadful than the spectacle from without. Men and women, old and young, insurgents and priests, those who fought and those who entreated mercy, were hewn down in indiscriminate carnage. The number of the slain exceeded that of the slayers. The legionaries had to clamber over heaps of dead to carry on the work of extermination.” It was as if God Himself was controlling the Roman army like pieces in a chess match. He knew exactly where to attack. He knew exactly what to destroy.

The destruction of Jerusalem is a fact of history. Jesus predicts this destruction in Luke chapter 19. This is what brings Him to tears. He longed to gather her inhabitants together and protect them as a hen gathers her brood. The Jews refused to be gathered. So they were scattered when their homes were wiped out in the year of our Lord 70. There would be no peace for them because [they] did not know the time of [their] visitation.

The same thing could happen to us. Now is not the time to discuss whether the USA is a Christian nation. However, you don’t need to look too far into the future to see that the Church in our country has a rocky road ahead. The freedom to practice religion, whether Christianity or any false religion, could disappear. Consider the decline of churchgoing in our country, as well as distrust toward Christian pastors. When compared to Europe or even Canada, our country still has an amazing number of practicing Christians. But that number decreases every year.

Church history shows that when the Church is attacked by anti-Christian foes, she grows. But what if no one cares enough about what they believe to speak up for Christ? The things that make for our peace will become the things that make war to the world. One minute we will be happy to welcome the Savior in our midst in His Gifts, while the next minute we will be happy to turn our back on Him and wish we never knew Him. All this for the sake of our own safety and self-preservation.

Hidden from the eyes of the world, yet visible to the eyes of faith, is the simple distribution of God’s Gifts to His Church. Eating a chicken sandwich to make a statement about Biblical values does not make for peace between God and man. Eating and drinking the Body and Blood of Christ speaks volumes about the things that make for our peace. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Jesus weeps over Jerusalem because they will not recognize His death as making peace between their heavenly Father, Who demands justice for sin, and them, who are children of the promise of the Anointed One who comes to make peace on their behalf. Messiah was right there before their eyes, but they knew Him not. He was hidden from their eyes because they would not believe Him.

The things that make for peace remain among you forever. Where Christ’s Church is, there are His people receiving what Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Church, gives: His forgiveness, His life, and His salvation. As the hymn, “Built on the Rock” confesses: “Were we but two His name to tell, Yet He would deign with us to dwell With all His grace and His favor.” Even if the Church was reduced to two people, a preacher and a hearer, there Christ dwells with His saving work for them.

The grace of God does not depend upon numbers or success stories. The grace of God depends upon a gracious Father Who loves the world by sending His only-begotten Son into our flesh to die the death we deserve. He weeps over a city that remains lost and dead in their sin because they either cannot or will not see Jesus Christ as their Savior. God’s grace works on dead people, bringing them to life in Christ’s victory over death. That’s the joy amid the tears Jesus sheds. To those on whom His favor rests will be spared the coming wrath. When Jesus calls you from your grave, you shall find an open heaven.

All things will be destroyed as Jerusalem was destroyed. No stone will rest upon another. Thanks be to God that this world will soon decay and die. The time of final visitation comes soon. While we wait, we rejoice in the visitation of the Savior under earthly means of word, water, bread, and wine. These make for our peace. These Gifts set us under His wings, as a hen protects her brood. In His shelter, even when surrounded by death and destruction, there is joy. Believe it for Jesus’ sake.

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit

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