Jeremiah knows Israel’s great tribulation is coming and that nothing he could do would stop it. Should he rejoice at the destruction of the wicked? No, not at all! He weeps for them just as Jesus did for Jerusalem that evening he entered the city 08 weepingand saw all the people who would suffer at its inevitable destruction. Luke 19:41 tells us that when Jesus “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. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

Jeremiah instructs those who may listen to him similarly. In Jeremiah 4:8 he says, “For this put on sackcloth, lament and wail, for the fierce anger of the LORD has not turned back from us.” Bock compares Jesus tears with the weeping prophet’s words also. He writes, “The lament over Jerusalem shows Jesus’ pain at Israel’s failure to respond with faith. In 19:41–44, Jesus sounds like Jeremiah lamenting the coming exile (Jer. 6:6–21) or Isaiah declaring the impending fall of Jerusalem (Isa. 29:1–4). Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem shows that the consequence of rejecting God’s messenger is national judgment. When God sues for peace and his terms are rejected, only judgment remains. Jesus predicts the nation’s collapse as tragic fact. The fig tree of Luke 13:6–9 had its chance to bear fruit and it did not, so it was cut down (at least temporarily). The door of opportunity for the nation is closed (13:22–30). The house is desolate until it recognizes the one who comes in the name of the Lord (13:31–35).”[1]

Jeremiah was the “Weeping Prophet.” Notice these verses: “I will mourn for Moab” (Jer. 48:31). “I will weep and wail for the mountains and the pastures” (Jer. 9:10). “Let my eyes flow with tears night and day” (Jer. 14:17). “I mourn, dismay has taken hold of me” (Jer. 8:21). “For these things I weep, my eyes flow with water” (Lam. 1:16). “My eyes run with rivers of water because of the shattering of my people.” (Lam. 3:48). The Jews crucified Jesus! They rejected their Messiah. But what should our attitude be towards them? Are we to feel a sense of satisfaction that they got what they deserved? Martin Luther seems to have thought so and of course Adolph Hitler always referred to them as “Christ killers.” Tannehill helps correct this. He rightly says, “The authority attributed to Jesus makes him a reliable guide to the appropriate attitude toward the destruction of Jerusalem. If Jesus weeps, it is appropriate for others, also, to weep for Jerusalem.”[2]

[1] Darrell L. Bock, Luke: 9:51–24:53, vol. 2, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1996), 1547.

[2] Robert C. Tannehill, “Israel in Luke-Acts: A Tragic Story,” ed. Victor Paul Furnish, Journal of Biblical Literature 104 (1985): 75.