When we think of God, we usually consider that fact that He is righteous, holy, loving, and good. But here is something else to consider about God: He is the God who has suffered. We don't tend to think that a perfect Creator would experience such a human trait as human pain and suffering. After all, why would you suffer if you did not have to?
But God has suffered, and more deeply than any of us could ever imagine. In his book The Cross of Christ, John Stott said, "Our God is a suffering God." And I think he is right.
"He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief . . . Surely He has borne our grief and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:3-5
"A man of suffering." That was Jesus. But why did God suffer? Because He loved and loves. That means He also enters into our suffering as well.
"Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and temptation, he is able to help us when we are being tempted". Hebrews 2:17-18
Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes." — Luke 19:41–42
As Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the crowds were celebrating. They were laughing. They were cheering. They were having a great time. And what was Jesus doing? He saw the city, and He wept over it. Here was the crowd, whipped into a frenzy, and Jesus was weeping. The crowd was rejoicing, and Christ was sobbing.
Why did Jesus weep when He saw Jerusalem? Being God and having omniscience, Jesus knew these fickle people who were crying out, "Hosanna!" would soon be shouting, "Crucify Him!" He knew that one of His handpicked disciples, Judas, would betray Him. He knew that another disciple, Peter, would deny Him. He knew that Caiaphas, the high priest, would conspire with Pilate, the Roman governor, to bring about His death. And, He knew the future of Jerusalem. Looking ahead 40 years, He saw the destruction that would come upon the city at the hands of the Emperor Titus and his Roman legions.
Jesus also wept because His ministry was almost over. Time was short. He had healed their sick. He had raised their dead. He had cleansed their lepers. He had fed their hungry. He had forgiven their sins. Yet for the most part, He had been rejected. "He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him." John 1:11 And so He wept. This broke His heart, and it still does.
Unbelief and rejection breaks God's heart, because He knows the consequences. But when the door of the human heart is shut, He refuses to enter forcibly. He will only knock, wanting to gain admittance. He has given us the ability to choose. But when we choose the wrong thing, He knows the repercussions that will follow—in this life and the one to come. And His heart is broken.
Which are you this Easter week? A Judas, who has betrayed the truth, or just one of the crowd singing Hosanna, and Crucify Him? Either way you break His heart, nevertheless He did this for you.