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. 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.”
Dear God, it’s interesting that Jesus wasn’t pitying Jerusalem because of any great sin. He wasn’t pitying them for debauchery or anything like that. He was pitying them because they didn’t recognize you when he came. And who was it who didn’t recognize him? Was it the godless? No, it was the religious leaders.
I’m going to a ministerial association meeting later this morning. There are some really good people in there. And I don’t want to cast any stones because I am chief among sinners. What does concern me, however, are the leaders who have mixed political concerns (not even power, but just anger over the decisions politicians are making) with theology. It feels like we are just getting all of this mixed up when Jesus didn’t seem to care at all about what Rome was up to. Unfair taxes? Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. Cruel executions through crucifixion? Crucify me too. Centurions who are slave owners? Help them out and heal their slave. And those are just the examples off of the top of my head.
However, there was plenty of venom in Jesus for the religious leaders, and the foremost sin that seemed to disgust him was hypocrisy. Do what I say and not what I do. Love others while I ignore others. Live up to the letter of the law while I disobey the spirit of the law. The fact that they judged others so harshly really, really bothered him.
I’ll admit that it is hard for me to know where to draw the line. I mentioned a couple of days ago a conversation I recently had with a man. He is a good man who is trying to be moral, but he has a venom towards Christianity. But I don’t think it is the Christianity that is about Jesus. I don’t think he is talking about being angry with Jesus. I think, when it comes down to it, he is probably as angry with the church as Jesus was. I wonder how angry you are with the American Christian church now. If you were dictating Revelation to John today, what would you have to say about the church in America?
Father, I admit that I get too easily distracted from really worshiping you by other things. Frankly, the fall can be hard for me because, for whatever reason, I really enjoy college football, and it can really take a lot of my time and energy. But I want to be found faithful. I want you to live through me. I want to be in relationship with you and worship you. I want you to be my God. Thank you for loving me so much.
In Jesus’s name I pray,