Jesus Weeps Over Jerusalem, Cleanses the Temple
by Nicole Arnoldbik
”And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it…” (vs. 41)
The next several days are packed with controversy, including Jesus calling out the religious leaders in the Temple. How passionate he is - imploring elitists to see the marginalized the way his Father sees them! Literary echoes of the Old Testament suggest that Jesus' long journey and unique arrival in Jerusalem (weeping on a donkey) reveal that Jesus is a new Moses or new David, inviting people to his “upside-down” kingdom community.
Today, as we trace Jesus' return to the Temple, we can consider these words from Old Testament scholar John Walton: "Salvation is more importantly about what we are saved to (renewed access to the presence of God and relationship with him) than what we are saved from." May we be reminded to take hold of this "renewed access" and draw close to our Savior as we see Jesus reclaim the Temple as a meeting place with God’s presence.
In this last week of our Lenten series, Jesus finishes his travels by accomplishing his Father's business, overcoming sin, death, and Satan. His final walk to Golgotha ends with the sound of the Temple curtain being torn in two, leading the way into the Holy of Holies and symbolizing that God's presence is open to all because of Christ's atonement.
Let the words of 4th-century theologian Gregory of Nazianzen wash over us this week as we pray:
"He was tempted as Man, but He conquered as God; yea, He bids us be of good cheer, for He has overcome the world. He hungered—but He fed thousands; yea, He is the Bread that giveth life, and That is of heaven. He thirsted—but He cried, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink. Yea, He promised that fountains should flow from them that believe. He was wearied, but He is the Rest of them that are weary and heavy laden. He was heavy with sleep, but He walked lightly over the sea. He rebuked the winds, He made Peter light as he began to sink. He pays tribute, but it is out of a fish; yea, He is the King of those who demanded it. He is called a Samaritan and a demoniac;—but He saves him that came down from Jerusalem and fell among thieves; the demons acknowledge Him, and He drives out demons and sinks in the sea legions of foul spirits, and sees the Prince of the demons falling like lightning. He is stoned, but is not taken. He prays, but He hears prayer. He weeps, but He causes tears to cease. He asks where Lazarus was laid, for He was Man; but He raises Lazarus, for He was God. He is sold, and very cheap, for it is only for thirty pieces of silver; but He redeems the world, and that at a great price, for the Price was His own blood. As a sheep He is led to the slaughter, but He is the Shepherd of Israel, and now of the whole world also. As a Lamb He is silent, yet He is the Word, and is proclaimed by the Voice of one crying in the wilderness. He is bruised and wounded, but He heals every disease and every infirmity. He is lifted up and nailed to the Tree, but by the Tree of Life He restores us; yea, He saves even the Robber crucified with Him; yea, He wrapped the visible world in darkness. He is given vinegar to drink mingled with gall. Who? He who turned the water into wine, who is the destroyer of the bitter taste, who is Sweetness and altogether desire. He lays down His life, but He has power to take it again; and the veil is rent, for the mysterious doors of Heaven are opened; the rocks are cleft, the dead arise. He dies, but He gives life, and by His death destroys death. He is buried, but He rises again; He goes down into Hell, but He brings up the souls; He ascends to Heaven, and shall come again to judge the quick and the dead, and to put to the test such words as yours."
Nicole Arnoldbik came to The Falls Church Anglican last August and began serving as our communications coordinator in November 2018. She has enjoyed getting to know a portion of our church family through the Lenten devotion series, and she looks forward to making more connections through upcoming writing projects.