Today's Word of Encouragement
HOW'S YOUR LOVE LIFE?
Tuesday, April 07, 2020
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem" (Matthew 23:37).
Tuesday, by far, was the most active day for Jesus during Passion Week. It was not the most devastating or horrific, but it was a day packed full of teaching and ministry. The day is covered in Matthew 21:18 - 26:2, Mark 11:12 - 13:37; Luke 20:1 - 21:36. John does not record any of the events that occurred on Tuesday of Passion Week.
There are certainly a great number of lessons that can be learned from this day in Jesus' life, many of which are applicable to us today. I am amazed how Jesus countered the 'conventional wisdom' of His day with the spiritual truths of the Scriptures and of the Kingdom. What's more amazing is the response of the spiritual leaders of the day who could not understand, nor refute the His words. The only thing they could do was walk away and meet to figure out how to get rid of Him. Sounds a lot like today.
Late Tuesday morning, after Jesus condemned the religious leaders for their corruption and hypocrisy, and before He spoke to the disciples about the coming tribulation of Jerusalem and the Jews (which took place in A.D. 70, and will take place again before the 2nd coming), Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37-39).
From time to time the writers of the gospels give us a glimpse into the emotions of Jesus. We know He experienced joy, anger, love, despondency, and peace. Three times it is recorded in Scripture that Jesus wept: once over the death of Lazarus (his friend), once in the Garden of Gethsemane (as He wrestled over God's will), and once as He looked out over Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. Here He showed His compassion for His people who were guilty of sin, and His concern for the coming judgment they would suffer because of it. But His sorrow was not just for the moments ahead of them. Jesus also wept over the history of a people who continued to refuse God in their lives, and rejected Him again and again for hundreds of years, a people who were identified as God's chosen people.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!' " (Matthew 23:37-39).
To 'gather the children like a hen with her chicks' means to save and protect from certain danger. The Jews wanted their Messiah to save them from Rome and give them life as in their good old days. God sent His Messiah to save them from sin and give them eternal life free from eternal damnation. But they were 'not willing', two words that mean 'absolutely chose not to', a very strong negative attitude. We have been seeing the same attitude in our culture for the past 40-50 years now. Opposition to Jesus Christ and His gospel has gone from passive dismissal and ignoring, to active and hostile refusal and rebuke. The just judgment - your house is left to you desolate (forsaken, desolate, to be destroyed). An even greater judgment is pronounced by Jesus - you will see me no more until the day you say 'blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. In other words, the day of mercy has come and gone, and you will be shown no mercy from God until the time the Kingdom comes.
With these words Jesus wept over His people. Someone once said, "The lost souls in our families, among our friends, and in our communities will never come to saving faith in Jesus until His people weep over them as Jesus wept over Jerusalem." He knew their history. He knew their current sin of rejecting Him. He knew the judgment that hung over them and the final judgment that would destroy them. He wept for them. He died for them. He was willing to save them if they would only believe in and receive Him. He went the extra mile, and then some, for them because He loved them. Ought we also to love as much for our own?