August 13

Text: Matthew 23:37, 38

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.  Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!”  (NASB)

The ancient Jewish people held Jerusalem to be a special place.  From King David’s time, it was the center of Jewish government.  From King Solomon’s time, it was the center of Jewish religion (until the Roman destruction of the third temple).  The city symbolized the bond between God and Abraham’s descendants through Isaac.  To the physical Jesus, there was a deep appreciation for Jerusalem.  He wanted to call the Jewish people to repentance, as did John (see Matthew 3:2 and 4:17).

However, the city had long disappointed God.  The Lord told Jeremiah centuries before Jesus’ birth, "Roam to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and look now, and take note. And seek in her open squares, if you can find a man, if there is one who does justice, who seeks truth, then I will pardon her (Jeremiah 5:1, NASB).  Though they returned from captivity to rebuild the temple (see Ezra 3), as generations passed, Israelite worship again insulted God (see Malachi 1:6-14).

Jesus tried to move these people to repentance, but he could not.  He had enormous power.  He had relevant teachings that addressed real problems and failures.  He compassionately cared about the people.  His love for God was without boundaries.  Yet, incredible power, teachings devoted to truth, compassion for people, and boundless love for God were not enough.  One thing was lacking—the people’s cooperation.  The people were religious, but they were devoted to ungodly influences.  No matter what Jesus did or said, they saw no need to repent.

The result: To Jesus, Jerusalem was the agonizing symbol of needless defeat instead of a symbol of radiant hope.  The destruction of the city was a by-product of a senseless ungodliness!

Suggestion for reflection: Does your existence bring Jesus agony or hope?  (Read Jeremiah 5:1-13.)

David's Home Page Previous Day Index Next Day

 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell