I have a problem. I guess I can see that, at a specific place and moment in time, Jesus could genuinely lament the impending doom of Jerusalem, even the though the real reason for such was his own (and his Father's) eternal decree of reprobation for the inhabitants. But something about that still strikes me as insincere and phony. Why would Jesus cry over what he decreed to take place? How do we resolve this apparent hypocrisy?


In some sense it is like that. But I don't think that's any different from the example of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, or on the cross, or in other painful circumstances. God ordained that he would become incarnate and suffer. Then he became incarnate and suffered. He ordained that he would do things that in some sense he himself would not like, and he followed through with what he had ordained (e.g. Acts 4:27-28).

We should not let the reality of the eternal decree ride roughshod over the reality of the providential experience. If God ordained that he would lament over Jerusalem, then when the time came he really lamented. The fact that he also ordained that the sorrow would be "worth it," and that these people would ultimately glorify him anyway (perhaps in their condemnation, should they fail to repent even later; cf. Rom. 9:22-23), does not, in my opinion, make his sorrow disingenuous.

Consider by way of analogy the very common human experience of buying a dog, or cat, or other short-lived pet. People buy pets with the full knowledge that they will become attached to the pets, and that the pets will die in a few years, thereby bringing them heartache and pain. When these pets finally die, their owners sometimes cry or lament in other ways. The owners knew full well what they were getting into, and it can even be said that they planned to experience their pets' deaths. But no one would consider their laments hypocritical. One might take the illustration a step further and think of owners who have to put their pets to sleep. They render their pets' deaths certain by their actions, yet still lament the deaths. The analogy is not precise, but I think it helps us see that there are legitimate reasons for creating situations like Jerusalem's rejection of Christ even while Christ laments over them for this very rejection.

Answer by Ra McLaughlin

Ra McLaughlin is Vice President of Finance and Administration at Third Millennium Ministries.