Jesus Grieves Over Jerusalem
20 May 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: Matthew 23:37-39 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. 38 And now, look, your house is abandoned and desolate. 39 For I tell you this, you will never see me again until you say, ‘Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the LORD!’” (Matthew 23:37–39 NLT)
In Matthew 23, Jesus begins speaking to the crowds and his disciples, warning them against the religious leaders, the teachers of religious law, and the Pharisees. He cautions people to steer clear of them and their religious, prideful ways. Then, speaking directly to the religions leaders, he pronounces a series of judgments which we looked at yesterday--the “Seven Sorrows.”
Now Jesus turns his attention toward the city of Jerusalem. Since David’s capital and the Tabernacle had come there, hundreds of years before, and then Solomon’s Temple and palace, Jerusalem had been considered the “Holy City.” It was a place uniquely favored by God. Jesus expresses his deep and passionate love for the city and her people, and expresses his own sorrow over Jerusalem’s rejection of her time of opportunity to embrace God’s Kingdom.
Then Jesus makes an interesting and insightful comment, “And now look, your house is left to you, empty and desolate.” When Jesus entered Jerusalem a few days earlier and went to the Temple to knock over some tables and drive out the dishonest money changers, he had quoted from Isaiah 56:7 and Jeremiah 7:11, saying, “My house will be called a house of prayer and you have made it a den of thieves!” Now he calls the Temple “your house” and says “it is left unto you!” From this time forward, the Temple in Jerusalem was no longer “God’s house!” God’s house is now the gathering of God’s people, whenever and wherever that may be!
Father, Please help my friends and me to more deeply appreciate “your house” and to realize more fully the privilege we have together to form a dwelling for the Almighty. May we grow in maturity and grace and in commitment to you and to our brothers and sisters. And may we be a house of prayer for all nations! In Jesus’ Name!