Crying Over Jerusalem
“If only I could get my kids to listen! I see the danger they’re facing. I know how to protect them. I want to shelter them under my wings. Why do they choose to push me away and defy me?” As a pastor, hearing dads grieve like this over kids who have played the prodigal has crushed me. Why can’t we as parents get our kids to listen? Why do they usually have to learn in the school of hard knocks? Why can’t we get our kids under control?
Then I read the Scripture and discover that the only Father who actually does have the power to get His kids under control doesn’t choose to force them. Instead, He allows them to decide, even when their choices lead to their own destruction.
Listen to Jesus grieving over Jerusalem, the Holy City, because He knows the city will soon reject Him.
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who killed the prophets and stoned those sent to you, how many times I desired to gather your children, like a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you did not want it. So look! Your house will be forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the LORD.’” Luke 13:34-35
In the spring of AD33 Jerusalem did kill a prophet, in fact, He was more than a prophet. They murdered Jesus, the Messiah.
Then 37 years later the Roman Emperor, Titus, surrounded Jerusalem. Listen to how the first century Jewish historian, Josephus, described the burning of the Holy of Holies in the Temple at the climax of the Roman invasion:
“Moreover, the hope of plunder induced many to go on, as having this opinion, that all the places within were full of money, and as seeing that all round about it was made of gold; and besides, one of those that went into the place prevented Caesar, when he ran so hastily out to restrain the soldiers, and threw the fire upon the hinges of the gate, in the dark; whereby the flame burst out from within the holy house itself immediately, when the commanders retired, and Caesar with them, and when nobody any longer forbade those that were without to set fire to it; and thus the holy house burnt down, without Caesar’s approbation.”(Wars 6:264-266)
But Jesus didn’t end His lament over Jerusalem with its destruction. Quoting Psalm 118, He declared that there would be a new day—a day when His Jewish people would realize that “the stone the builders rejected has become the head of the corner…” This day when the Jewish people will welcome Jesus with these words from Psalm 118:26, “Blessed is the One who comes in the Name of the Lord.”
LORD, as the world continues to war over Jerusalem, I pray that that day will soon come when the majority of the Jewish people will open their hearts to Jesus and welcome Him. How thankful I am now for Jewish friends who have already crossed over and opened their heart to Jesus, Your Messiah.
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