Text: Luke 19:41-48
In the name of + Jesus. Amen.
Jesus, God in the flesh, is weeping over the City of
He doesn’t use His divine power to force
Jesus has fulfilled every Old Testament prophecy. He has worked miracle after miracle for three years. He has made the blind to see, fed thousands with a few loaves of bread, and even raised people from the dead. He has preached and preached about the
In spite of all of this, there are many who refuse to believe. And this lack of belief is what condemns them. For not even God will compel a person to believe in anything. If three years of signs, miracles, preaching, and the fulfillment of ancient prophecies are not enough to rouse faith, there is nothing more that God Himself will do. In spite of every desperate plea of our blessed Lord, the majority of His countrymen refuse to believe. They refuse to believe the preaching of John that the time is at hand. They refuse to believe the preaching of Jesus that today the Scriptures are fulfilled in your hearing. They refuse to believe that God has visited them.
Instead, they continue to depend on the
And Jesus, heartbroken, filled with a sadness born of frustration and unrequited love, weeps as Jerusalem comes into view on His final walk into the crown jewel of Israel, the City of David, before He was to be enthroned on a cross bearing the word “king” while wearing a crown of thorns. .
For our Lord knows exactly what is to come to pass precisely forty years after He is to become the one all-availing sacrifice for the life of the world. In 70 AD, the
And yet, Jesus does not force history to conform to the will of God – not even to spare the holocaust to come forty years in the future about which He knows everything. But forty years before the fall of
As Paul proclaims in our epistle,
For it would be the Gentiles – the people who did not have the Old Testament and the prophets – who would not be too proud to accept the charity of God and admit their utter failure to obey the law. Notice that Paul, a Jew like his Lord Jesus, is also crushed in his spirit. His heart’s desire to the “God of Israel” is that “they may be saved.” He pleads with his fellow Israelites to submit to “God’s righteousness.” As Paul preaches, “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
For again, belief, that is, faith, simply can’t be compelled. Faith is a humble submission to the unpleasant truth over and against our sinful desire to define the truth by a pleasant lie.
Again and again, prophets called
But the good news today, dear brothers and sisters, is that we are part of the Church, the one, holy, catholic and apostolic assembly of believers, members of His very body by virtue of Holy Baptism. For we can take comfort that it is only by the Holy Spirit, by God Himself, that we can confess “Jesus is Lord.” Unlike the majority of our Lord’s countrymen, we know the “time of our visitation.” God has come in the flesh. And that flesh was crucified for us poor, miserable sinners. His blood was spilled as a sacrifice to take away the sins of the world. That flesh and blood are given to us as a gift of life, made into a form we can eat and drink – precisely because we know who is visiting us, and why we need visited in the first place.
To come to this communion rail is to say to God before everyone in this congregation and before everyone in the world that you are unable to save yourself. You are admitting failure. You are accepting blame for your sins. When you kneel here, you are a beggar, a bum in search of a handout. You are telling your neighbor and yourself that you are not a good person. You are a sinner. But you are also a sinner who confesses the unpleasant truth and believes that here, in this church, God is visiting you. If you didn’t believe this, you wouldn’t humiliate yourself with the rest of us “poor miserable sinners” and bow and scrape for God’s charity.
Thanks be to God that we are willing to beg handouts, to plead for the crumbs that fall from the Lord’s table. For that is the kind of faith Jesus wishes with all of His heart that
“For Christ is the end,” that is, the fulfillment “of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Amen.
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.