Jerusalem has sinned greatly and so has become unclean.
All who honored her despise her, for they have seen her
nakedness; she herself groans and turns away.
As Jesus approaches Jerusalem for the last time, He looks out upon what was once the Holy City of God and says, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often have I longed to gather your children, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Luke 13:34).
Jesus looks at the sacred place where Abraham had taken his son Isaac in obedience to God’s command. He looks at the city of David and the city of Solomon who built the first temple. But now it is an occupied city, a place where “all the splendor has departed . . .” (Lamentations 1:6) and where “the faithful city has become a harlot” (Isaiah 1:21). It has become a place where “your rulers are rebels, companions of thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts” (Isaiah 1:21–23). The once holy city of Jerusalem has come to represent the tragic condition of the city of man where all have turned away from God.
But Jesus does not turn back, for His purpose is one of restoration—not of a city or of a people or race but of all mankind from the tragedy of sin. As God provided Abraham a substitute for his son Isaac, so God provided His one and only Son as a substitute for all of us. And through that act of absolute love, God provides each one of us with a way back to Him. “But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more” (Isaiah 65:18–19).
—Eric Kampmann, Signposts