The Tears of Jesus :: Enrique Simonet, “He Wept Over It”

Enrique Simonet, Flevit super illam; oil on canvas; 1892.

“As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it” (Luke 19:41)

There are several places in the Scripture where we encounter Jesus weeping. Probably the most memorable is when Jesus approaches the tomb of His friend, Lazarus, where John the Gospel writer records a most simple, striking sentence: “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). We may also call to mind Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane before His arrest and crucifixion. While engaged in deep, strained prayer, Luke tells us Jesus was “exhausted from sorrow” (Luke 23:45). But before the sorrow of His exhaustion before the Cross, we find Jesus weeping before He enters Jerusalem with great acclaim. Why did Jesus weep over Jerusalem at this point? Luke tells us Jesus’ tears are followed with His words about the impending destruction of Jerusalem and its people, a destruction that necessarily flows from people forsaking God and the peace He offers (19:42-44). In Matthew’s parallel account we hear Jesus’ words: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing” (Matthew 23:37). Jesus weeps over the annihilation of God’s city and destruction of people who could have experienced God’s peace and care. Instead, they turn away from God to pursue their own ends. Jesus weeps over people and places fleeing God’s presence and goodness.

In Flevit super illam (“He wept over it” or “Then He wept”), Enrique Simonet offers a strikingly large painting, 10 feet by 18 feet, that vividly invites us into this awesome moment. Simonet traveled to Palestine in order to study the place and culture before painting this scene. As we look at this painting, we may feel we are right there with Jesus and His followers gathered on the crest of the Mount of Olives before the triumphal entry. We join them in gazing at Jesus, whose tears fall while His hands are outstretched in care and love over Jerusalem and all its people. The sky is dark, and Jesus almost seems to be in shadows while the light of either a sinking moon or a rising sun (art critics still debate this) blazes through the darkness to light up the city. The followers fix their eyes on Jesus, while Jesus’ eyes are fixed on Jerusalem and a wayward humanity. His response flows in tears. Before this painting we join Jesus in weeping over the world and lost humanity.

The End is Beginning

This past weekend at Eastbrook, as we celebrated Jesus’ resurrection, I began a new series entitled “The Beginning of the End.” This series explores the resurrection of Jesus in tandem with some of Jesus’ teaching about the fall of Jerusalem and the end of all time.This weekend I preached out of Matthew 28:1-15 on Jesus’ resurrection setting us free from fear.

This message is from the tenth and final part of our longer journey through the Gospel of Matthew, which includes “Family Tree,” “Power in Preparation,” “Becoming Real,” “The Messiah’s Mission,” “Stories of the Kingdom,” “Who Do You Say I Am?“, “‘Tis the Reason,” “Jesus Said What?!“, and “Scandalous Jesus.

You can find the message video and outline below. You can also view the entire series here. Join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.

“The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid.’” (Matthew 28:5)

Don’t Be Afraid: the night is dark, but a new day has dawned (28:1-4)

The dawn of the new sabbath 

The women walking

The earth quaking 

The angel appearing

Don’t Be Afraid: death is terrible, but Jesus is risen (28:5-7)

Jesus was crucified

Jesus was buried

Jesus is risen 

Don’t Be Afraid: we may experience fear, but Jesus is here (28:8-11)

The women afraid, yet joyful

Jesus appears

The message continues

Don’t Be Afraid: we will face opposition, but Jesus has triumphed (28:12-15)

The fear of the guards

The plan of the religious leaders

The critique even unto this day

Dig Deeper

This week dig deeper in one or more of the following ways:

  • Memorize Matthew 28:5-7.
  • Share with others, both believers and unbelievers, about what Jesus means to you. Pray about who God would have you share with this coming week or month. Don’t just think about this, but actually do it.
  • As the weather improves, take a prayer walk around where you live. Pray for those who live near you that God would open their hearts to Jesus in new ways.

Lavish Your Love on Jesus

Pastor Femi Ibitoye, Eastbrook’s Pastor of Worship and Prayer, concluded our Lenten preaching series, “Scandalous Jesus,” this past weekend on Palm Sunday. Femi preached out of Matthew 26:1-16, giving specific attention to the episode where a woman comes and anoints Jesus in the home of Simon the Leper.

This message is from the ninth part of our longer journey through the Gospel of Matthew, which includes “Family Tree,” “Power in Preparation,” “Becoming Real,” “The Messiah’s Mission,” “Stories of the Kingdom,” “Who Do You Say I Am?“, “‘Tis the Reason,” and “Jesus Said What?!

You can find the message video and outline below. You can also view the entire series here. Join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.

When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial.  Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” (Matthew 26:12-13)

The Chief Priest and Elders of the people plotted to kill Jesus instead of lavishing their love on him (26:3-5)

       They schemed to kill Jesus instead of loving him (26:3)

       They plotted to kill in secret instead of loving him (26:4)

       They feared the people instead of fearing God. (They loved appearances, and praise of the

       People, instead of the praise from God. (26:5)

       They willingly and knowing plotted to kill Jesus in secret breaking the command of God. “You shall not kill” (Matthew 26:5; Exodus 20:13, Deuteronomy 27:24-25)

Judas loved money Instead of loving Jesus

       Plotted with the Chief Priests to kill an innocent person with bribery (26:14-16)

       Judas loved money more than loving Jesus (26:14-16)

       Judas and the other disciples have forgotten the greatest commandment. 

       “Love God” (Matthew 26:7-9, 22:26-40)

A woman (likely Mary, sister of Lazarus, lavished her love on Jesus (26:6-11)

       She loved by pouring expensive perfume on Jesus

       She lavished her love on Jesus publicly

       She loved Jesus by listening and believing in him

       Jesus honored and blessed her in return.  You cannot out give Jesus.

Why lavish our love on Jesus

       Because he first lavished his love on us (1 john 4:19, 4:9-10)

       Because it is the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:36-38)

       Because Jesus is worthy of our love and worship (Revelation 5: 11-14)

What can we do to lavish our love on Jesus?

      Worship him

      Obey him

      Love people


Lavish your love on Jesus publicly. At church, at work, on social media.  Love Jesus instead of money, power or status.   

Dig Deeper

This week dig deeper in one or more of the following ways:

  • Memorize Matthew 26:11-12.
  • Take some time to pray through Matthew 26:1-16, letting God reveal any areas where you have gotten off-track in your life with God. Confess and repent of those wrong ways in prayer. What will you do to lavish your love on Jesus today? Take a stand and act.
  • Prepare for Holy Week by reading Matthew chapters 26, 27 and 28.

Eastbrook at Home – April 10, 2022


Join us for worship with Eastbrook Church through Eastbrook at Home at 8, 9:30, and 11 AM.

This weekend we celebrate Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week. We also will continue our Lenten series, “Scandalous Jesus,” which traces Jesus’ journey in Jerusalem from His triumphal entry to His crucifixion.

Here is a prayer for the sixth Sunday of Lent, which is Palm Sunday, from The Book of Common Prayer:

Almighty and everlasting God, in your tender love for us you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon himself our nature, and to suffer death upon the Cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and come to share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

If you are able to do so, let me encourage you to join us for in-person services at 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00 AM this weekend at the Eastbrook Campus.

If you are new to Eastbrook, we want to welcome you to worship and would ask you to text EBCnew to 94000 as a first step into community here at Eastbrook.

Each Sunday at 8, 9:30, and 11 AM, you can participate with our weekly worship service at home with your small group, family, or friends. This service will then be available during the week until the next Sunday’s service starts. You can also access the service directly via Vimeo, the Eastbrook app, or Facebook.

If you are not signed up for our church emailing list, please sign up here. Also, please remember that during this time financial support for the church is critical as we continue minister within our congregation and reach out to our neighborhood, city, and the world at this challenging time. Please give online or send in your tithes and offerings to support the ministry of Eastbrook Church.

Finding Your Story in the Easter Story: a preaching resource

I had the privilege of participating in a discussion led by Steve Carter with Mark Moore for Preaching Today entitled “Finding Your Story in the Easter Story.” This may be behind a paywall, but here is the description at Preaching Today about this resource:

It’s another Easter season, so we are preparing to preach on Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. But what about the other days? How often do we neglect, in our sermons, to preach the entirety of Holy Week and help our listeners truly understand Jesus’ week leading to the Cross and his Resurrection?

Steve Carter, editor for Preaching Today, invited Mark Moore, pastor at Christ Church of the Valley in Arizona, to march us through the entirety of Holy Week.

In this powerful, insightful, and moving video:

Moore traces Jesus’ steps from meeting Zacchaeus (the Thursday before Palm Sunday) to Jesus’ Resurrection on Easter Sunday. His detailed retelling is filled with historical and geographical information to help us preach our Holy Week sermons.

He also helps us understand the importance of each day leading up to Easter Sunday.

Moore challenges us to preach the same powerful story that everyone is expecting to hear, but it has to be our story and our experience with the story.

Then stay tuned to hear how Steve Carter and Matt Erickson, pastor of Eastbrook Church in Wisconsin, are going to apply Moore’s wisdom in their preaching this Holy Week.

Since, we are in the middle of Lent, Erickson also gives us some tips about how to lead our churches through Lent. If you are interested, you can read more in his article “Finding Our Way Back with Christ.”