The panoramic view of Jerusalem from the top of the Mount of Olives is always breath taking. It has captured the hearts of pilgrims for centuries. Jesus’s disciples see Jerusalem and exclaim ‘look Lord what large stones and what fine buildings’ (Mark 13:1). A little later, Jesus views the city possibly from this very vantage point and weeps for the city. Today the city is quiet when usually, at this time of year, it would be so busy as the Christian communities prepare for Easter.   

Here though, in this extraordinary view, we see the history of salvation captured for us in a single view: we see signs of Abraham, of David and Solomon, we can spy the (possible) site of the Last Supper, of Jesus’s arrest and his crucifixion which is covered by a church containing also the place of Jesus’s resurrection.  

It would be easy to feel that God has abandoned the world in our suffering but Jesus’s tears here tell us that God suffers with us and will guide us through the pain into a time of new and renewed life.    

Even when Jerusalem was destroyed, the Psalmist could proclaim: 

‘The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel. 
He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds. 
He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. 
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.’ (Psalm 147) 

The vista of the Holy City is itself an image of hope.