JESUS AND MAN
When, on his last journey, Jesus came in sight of Jerusalem, Luke tells us that he wept (Luke 19:41). There is an obvious explanation of this in the extreme tension under which he was living—everything turned upon the next few days, and everything would be decided at Jerusalem; but while he must have felt this, it cannot have been the cause of his weeping. Nor should we look for it altogether in the appeal which a great city makes to emotion.
Dull would he be of soul who
could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty.
Yet it was not the architecture that so deeply moved Jesus; the temple, which was full in view, was comparatively new and foreign. There is little suggestion in the Gospels that Art meant anything to him, perhaps it meant little to the writers. As for the temple, he found it “a den of thieves” (Luke 19:46); and he prophesied that it would be demolished, and of all its splendid buildings, its goodly stones and votive offerings, which so much impressed his disciples, not one stone would be left upon another stone (Mark 13:9; Luke 21:5). But the traditions of Jerusalem wakened thoughts in him of the story of his people, thoughts with a tragic colour. Jerusalem was the place where prophets were killed (Luke 13:34), the scene and centre, at once, of Israel’s deepest emotions, highest hopes, and most awful failures. “O Jerusalem! Jerusalem!” he had said in sadness as he thought of Israel’s holy city, “which killest the prophets and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!” (Luke 13:34).