The Weeping Judge

(First read Luke 19 vs 28 -48)

The crowds are cheering their hero.  Look, here He comes, the One Who made the blind see, the disabled rise up and walk, Who even raised the dead.  Waving their palm branches they jubilantly welcome the Saviour King promised by God through His prophets centuries earlier.

Yet as we look at their champion he is not waving, smiling, punching the air or giving ‘High Fives’.  No, He’s weeping!

His fans go wild as He ‘cleans house’ in the Temple, chasing out the crooks and welcoming the needy, making it what it should be, a house of prayer and a centre for compassion and healing.  Yet instead of riding and enjoying this wave of popularity Jesus weeps and earnestly pleads for people to heed His warning.

The Judge of the earth weeps as He foresees the destruction of those who refuse to humble themselves before God, who refuse to repent and welcome the Saviour Who has come on this occasion in gentleness with the offer of peace.  The Weeping Judge is distressed, deeply offended by our disobedience and rebellion but equally distraught as He warns of the consequences.

Here is grace, but if grace is rejected then judgement must come.  Within 40 years Jerusalem would be overthrown and her people killed or scattered.  Jesus could see it coming, and it broke His heart.

‘The days will come when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side.’  No escape!  ‘They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls.’  No mercy!  ‘They will not leave one stone on another because you did not recognise the time of God’s coming to you.’  No second chance!

Jesus, Son of God, kind and gentle Saviour King and healer, solemnly warns us against sin and of its fatal consequences.

Our generation needs to stop telling our Maker He’s wrong!  We’re inviting trouble.  Jerusalem rejected Christ and suffered for it, we should learn the lesson.  The prophet Isaiah wrote, ‘Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness…’  (25 v 20)  ‘Woe’, that’s an old fashioned word.  It means trouble and sorrow.  Expect trouble and sorrow if you disregard God and His commands!

Yet this generation kills children and calls it ‘compassion’ or ‘women’s rights’ and even criminalises those who try to save these innocents.  This generation applauds almost every form of sexual immorality and calls it ‘love’, ‘freedom’, ‘diversity’, ‘inclusivity’.  Why are we surprised if we experience trouble and sorrow?  Worse is yet to come!  Our judgement must surely be overdue!

Isaiah warned, ‘Therefore as tongues of fire lick up straw and dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the Law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the Word of the Holy One of Israel.’  (25 v 24)

Make no mistake.  God is holy.  His righteous anger burns consistently against all sin and yet His deep love is aroused to save sinners.  We see this perfect balance in Christ Who will one day come again to judge the living and the dead but on this occasion pleads with tears for people to accept grace and be saved.  For yes, God flooded the earth for human violence and cruelty but He also provided refuge in the Ark.  He rained plagues on the proud, idolatrous Egyptians but ‘passed over’ the Hebrew homes sheltered by the blood of a lamb.

Jesus the Judge wept as the crowds cheered, but not in hopeless despair for He had come to put things right.  He had come to be our sacrificial Lamb, the lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.  At the cross a few days after this Jesus would not just condemn human sin but take on Himself its guilt and shame and punishment on our behalf.  He would satisfy divine indignation, make full atonement and demonstrate for ever the depth of God’s love so that all who humbly repent and take shelter in Him by faith will not perish but experience cleansing, reconciliation with God and everlasting life.

The evidence against the human race is everywhere and it is damning.  We are ‘guilty as charged’.  The sentence is everlasting trouble and sorrow in the torment of Hell.  But the ransom has been paid.  Acquittal is still possible.  The Judge looks earnestly in our faces and our hearts.  What does He see?

The Apostle Peter speaks of a day of final, cataclysmic judgement when everything as we’ve known it will change forever.  ‘The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise…’ Peter writes, ‘He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.’ (2 Peter 3 v 9)

So despite the very real challenges currently facing us, not least the corona pandemic, this remains a day of grace and opportunity with God.  May it not be lost on us!

May we rather humble ourselves and pray and turn from our wicked ways that He might visit us with healing and salvation.

Amen

Church Service

EVERY SUNDAY
at 10.30 am
During July and August, the service will begin at 10.15 am and tea/coffee will be served afterwards.