From the Word
41 And when he drew near and saw the city he wept over it, 42 saying, “Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes.
Luke 19:41–42, RSV
If you only knew what belongs to your peace, you would yet this day consider, and redeem the time. But you are blind and will neglect the opportunity until there shall be neither help, nor counsel. The Jews were stubborn and depended on God’s promises. They vainly thought they owned the temple, and that God dwelt there; besides, they thought they had mighty men, money and treasures enough to defy all their enemies. They trusted in their own glory and built their own confidence on a false delusion, which finally deceived and destroyed them.
The Lord, however, saw deeper into the future than they when he said: O Jerusalem! if thou hadst known what I know, thou wouldst seek thy peace. Peace in the Scriptures means that all things go well with us. You now think you have pleasant days, but if you knew how your enemies will encamp round about you, compass you about and hedge you in on every side, crush you to the ground and demolish all your beautiful buildings, and leave not one stone upon another, you would eagerly accept the Word, which brings solid peace and every blessing to you.
God caused his threat to be executed; the city was besieged at the time of the Easter festival, when the Jews from every land were assembled within the walls of Jerusalem. There were together at that time about three million people. One hundred thousand would have been enough to crowd the city. But all this great multitude God in his wrath intended to bake, melt and weld together into one mass of ruin. The apostles and Christians were all out of the city. They had withdrawn and were scattered in Samaria, Galilee and among the heathen. Thus God separated and saved the good grain and heaped the chaff into one place.
Here let us learn a lesson, for this concerns also us. God has now opened the precious treasures of his holy gospel unto us, by which we can learn God’s will. Yet no one will earnestly believe it; we rather despise it and make light of it. God has great patience; he waits to see how we will deal with his gospel; but when we once let the opportunity slip, he will take his Word from us, and then the wrath which consumed the Jews will also consume us.
Luther, Martin, and John Sander. Devotional Readings from Luther’s Works for Every Day of the Year. Augustana Book Concern, 1915, pp. 317–18.