TEXT: LUKE 19:41-48; ROMANS 9:30-10:4; JER. 8:4-12
NOW IS THE TIME OF YOUR VISITATION!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


To all those at Luther Memorial Chapel and University Student Center who are loved by God and called to be saints; Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ. Dear hearers of the Word made flesh:


Jesus journeys up to Jerusalem for the final time! God’s plan of salvation is quickly moving toward completion! The Sabbath rest was ended and the Great Week – what we call Holy Week - was about to begin. Approaching the city from Bethany the summit of the Mount of Olives is reached. With a turn in the road - suddenly the whole city bursts into view – Jerusalem! An incredible sight nestled among closely knit hills – Jerusalem! An impressive sight with her strong walls and gleaming rebuilt temple precincts – Jerusalem! The destination of thousands of pilgrims at Passover and for that feast ringed with tents – Jerusalem! Over no other city did God fuss so lovingly. It was a city overflowing with sacred names and events – Jerusalem! In this city was an intense devotion to ancient Scriptural texts and in this holy city was the place of God-appointed sacrifices now offered in the rebuilt temple. – Jerusalem! 


When (Jesus) he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it…His weeping here was not with quiet tears as ran down his face at the tomb of Lazarus (edakrusen). His weeping here was with noticeable wailing and lamenting (eklausen). As the sweeping view of Jerusalem met His eyes, the Word made flesh broke into loud sobbing tears – this grown man openly displaying emotional grieving. Jesus wept deeply over the city as Jeremiah had done centuries before (Jeremiah 19:1; 13:17; 14:17).


When he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you.” 

TENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY – AUGUST 24, 2014
TEXT: LUKE 19:41-48; ROMANS 9:30-10:4; JER. 8:4-12
NOW IS THE TIME OF YOUR VISITATION!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


To all those at Luther Memorial Chapel and University Student Center who are loved by God and called to be saints; Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ. Dear hearers of the Word made flesh:


Jesus journeys up to Jerusalem for the final time! God’s plan of salvation is quickly moving toward completion! The Sabbath rest was ended and the Great Week – what we call Holy Week - was about to begin. Approaching the city from Bethany the summit of the Mount of Olives is reached. With a turn in the road - suddenly the whole city bursts into view – Jerusalem! An incredible sight nestled among closely knit hills – Jerusalem! An impressive sight with her strong walls and gleaming rebuilt temple precincts – Jerusalem! The destination of thousands of pilgrims at Passover and for that feast ringed with tents – Jerusalem! Over no other city did God fuss so lovingly. It was a city overflowing with sacred names and events – Jerusalem! In this city was an intense devotion to ancient Scriptural texts and in this holy city was the place of God-appointed sacrifices now offered in the rebuilt temple. – Jerusalem! 


When (Jesus) he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it…His weeping here was not with quiet tears as ran down his face at the tomb of Lazarus (edakrusen). His weeping here was with noticeable wailing and lamenting (eklausen). As the sweeping view of Jerusalem met His eyes, the Word made flesh broke into loud sobbing tears – this grown man openly displaying emotional grieving. Jesus wept deeply over the city as Jeremiah had done centuries before (Jeremiah 19:1; 13:17; 14:17).


When he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you.”

The multitude of the disciples had cried out in a loud voice – “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord”! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest! (Lk. 19:38) They were announcing Him as the Messiah! Yet Jesus weeps because His ancient people will reject Him as Messiah. In a few days, as He is led to the cross Jesus will say to the daughters of Jerusalem “Do not weep for me; but weep for yourselves and for your children (23:28).


The days will come upon you, when your enemies…will tear you down to the ground…and so they came! Jerusalem – was surrounded – and struck down by God through Titus Vespasian in 70 A.D. Hundreds of thousands died from the fighting and starvation and disease. Tens of thousands were led away in slavery.  This lady of beauty and wealth and religion – this lady called Jerusalem – lost it all!


The wetness of Jesus’ tears on Palm Sunday did not moisten the dryness of Jerusalem’s heart. He had previously cleansed the temple because they had made God’s house an emporium – a house of trade (John 2:13-17). His cleansing did not last! The religious leaders had again twisted the use of the temple courts. This time Jesus identifies not only wrong practical actions in the temple but also the high rates of exchange – tantamount to robbing the pilgrims. He entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.” 


“The days will come upon you, when your enemies…will tear you down to the ground, you and your children…because you did not know the time of your visitation.”  They did not know the time of their visitation by God! Do you?  They did not know the things that make for peace with God. Do you?  They did not know Him – their King - the Messiah – the Prince of Peace – who was bringing God’s grace to them! Dear Christians Jerusalem was destroyed not because she broke the law – but because she broke the Gospel. Eternal destruction results not from breaking the law – every human being breaks the law and is guilty of all of it (James 2:10). Eternal destruction – forsakenness by God – results from breaking the Gospel (from unbelief in Jesus Christ)!


The Holy Spirit caused St. Paul to write it this way: Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but…Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why?  Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone…
 
In regard to relying on the law to be justified – Jerusalem has nothing on you! Hidden beneath personal dreams and firm resolves is often an “I-can-do-this” perspective. After all – if at first you don’t succeed – try and try and try again. God will take notice! Maybe I’ve elevated my life enough already to be earning a passing grade. Maybe my attempted improvements will soon be enough to measure up! Maybe things will finally come together so that the strength of my efforts will outweigh the sloppy stains of my sins and the draining effects of bad decisions. Surely I’m choosing strongly enough for God! Surely I’m doing better than most. At least I’m sincere or I try to be. Such do-it-yourself religion is damnable and it is downright persistent in tempting us!


Sadly, in regard to your failure in keeping the law, Jerusalem also has nothing on you or on me! No one here is perfectly free from hypocrisy! No one here always hears preaching and learns the Word of God with gladness!  When His ways don’t suit our fancy we’re all guilty of longing for or imagining a path that seeks to improve on God’s Word – perhaps an easier “more sensible” path – or even a harder “more “spiritual” path – a path determined by our measurements of God’s kingdom with our feelings.


In this vein - our heart too easily becomes an emporium – a place of earthly business?  Worry and anxious calculation live there! Self-love lives there! Comparative false confidence lives there! Excuses and blame passing and omission of responsibility live there even while I try to control what doesn’t belong to me!


Jesus’ warning here also identifies the temptation to take our standing with God for granted. Even as for ancient Jerusalem - a sense of false security can bubble up. “Of course I’m in – I’m a hard working American Christian who means well.”  “Of course I’m in – I’m Lutheran – and not in name only – I seriously contend for the whole counsel of God!”   Jerusalem has nothing on us in self-justifying thoughts – in sin against God’s law – in the temptation to find security in false places!


Woe also to the preachers who make God’s word a lie. “They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ where there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they committed abomination?  No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Fellow-redeemed, we live in an age when not blushing at abominations is considered wisdom. The word “abomination” in the Old Testament is used for such abhorrent acts as committing adultery or worshipping an idol or the act of a male who lies with a male or killing a child in sacrifice to Molech. God grant us faith that continues to blush at abominations – that does not seek to establish our own righteousness – and that finds no false security in our record of keeping the law of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.


Jesus’ here issues a profound warning to all who have God’s Word and despise it! As we ponder the God/Man weeping - sobbing openly as He views Jerusalem – it is proper also to ponder His view of the whole world – and His view of our own heart. God still enters our hearts with the stinging whip of the law. The Holy Spirit must show us how far we fall from keeping God’s name holy and from total trust in His forgiving love in the name of Jesus. But remember also why He journeyed into the city on that Sunday!


The one weeping loudly over Jerusalem never ever said ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace. He who wept for others is never recorded as weeping for Himself. His pity was not self-pity but merciful, forgiving pity for this dying world! He drove out those who sold from the temple – to make room for the temple of His body! And while those around Him would have wept at His bloody execution, His naked shame, and His painful death, there was no crying or panic in heaven! God’s plan of salvation was quickly moving to completion! Soon – soon – He proclaimed that beautiful and gracious completion – “It is finished!” 


Beloved - do you know the time of your visitation?  Do you know the things that make for peace – objective peace between God and you – whether you feel it rightly or not? God has fussed so greatly over you! He put His very name on you in the waters of Holy baptism! That washing of rebirth is not something that you did – but His gift to you! Baptismal waters still cover you – not offering false security but – as Scripture proclaims – covering you with Christ (Galatians 3:27) – connecting you to His death and resurrection (Romans 6:1-4) – saving you as Noah and eight were saved (1 Peter 3:21). Do you know the time of your visitation?  It is at work for you this very day – for its not that you were baptized but that you are baptized?


Do you know the time of your visitation?  Jesus’ arrival among those gathered to receive His gifts is the visitation that brings us peace. He who overturned tables in the temple sets a table in our presence today. As He does so, the living Christ overturns all of Satan’s accusations against you! This is true because His blood cleanses you from all sin and He has promised – this cup is the New Testament in my blood which is shed for you for the remission of sins! Even sins of abomination - He took into His flesh to take their punishment from us! We are right to blush over them and all sin – but in Christ Jesus you are not right to think that you carry the blame for even one sin. From His table the living Christ also serves you bread that makes for peace. Bread – which by His Word is His Body – once for all sacrificed to take away the sin of the world – yours included!


The Lord, not returning beforehand, the day will soon come when your enemy will surround you – the enemy of death – and tear you down to the ground – dust to dust! The distress of that struggle is rightly expressed in the Introit – My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror over whelms me. God’s curse of death is an overwhelming and horrible enemy. Death is the terrible wages for our terrible rebellion of sin. But I call to God and the Lord will save me, yes, even from death! Death is swallowed up in victory! O death where is your victory? O death where is your sting?  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 


The first greeting the risen Christ spoke to His gathered disciples – was this - “Peace be with you.” He is the one who tasted death and conquered the grave for us! He is the one through whom God continues to visit us with life and salvation. Receiving His forgiveness in repentant faith you do know the things that make for peace – you do know the time of your visitation! Dear Christians, continue to cast your burdens on the Lord and He will sustain you.


He is your peace! He is faithful. He will sustain you to the end. He will never weep over the Jerusalem from above! She is free (Galatians 4:6) through the mediation of Jesus’ blood (Hebrews 12:22). And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. That’s why God’s Son wept on this earth. That’s why He rode into the Jerusalem below – in the flesh. In His name, Amen.

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
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Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a