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! (Matthew 23:37)
You Were Not Willing
The city of Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. General Titus brought the Roman Army to Judea and, after a five-month siege, destroyed the city and the Temple. It would end the Jewish nation, never to be restored. The prophets and Jesus Christ foretold the destruction of Jerusalem. When Jesus was near the end of His ministry, knowing He would go to Jerusalem to die, He wept over the city and the future fate of the citizens. It was a painful lesson of God’s grace and man’s rejection. Throughout the history of Israel, God extended immeasurable grace to His people through the voices of the prophets. He pleaded with them to return to Him, but they refused. Jesus stood before the great city of the Lord’s heritage and could only see the city through His tears.
There was nothing more deeply felt in the heart of Jesus than to protect the innocent of Jerusalem. Jesus expressed an endearing love for the people as he exclaimed His desire like a mother hen protecting her chicks under her wing. He wanted more than anything to see the people find blessing in God’s love. His Father had done so much for Israel. Jerusalem would fall in forty years, and there was nothing Jesus could do. The fate of the holy city was sealed. He desired to gather the people together to Him, but there was a problem. The people were unwilling to submit to the grace of God.
A stark contrast is found in the picture of Jesus standing before the city. The Son of God wept for the city, sincerely desiring to save them. He had the power to keep His people safe, but this would not happen. Thousands of people would be slaughtered in the conquest of Jerusalem. Jesus could not save Jerusalem because the people were unwilling to repent. Shortly after Jesus stood before the city weeping, He was taken to Golgotha and killed. In a matter of days, the people would pour out their wrath against Jesus, crying out, “Crucify Him, crucify Him. We have no king but Caesar.” The people He had wept over killed Him.
The human heart more easily blames God when it is their own rebellion. Jesus pointed out the flaw in the Jewish nation as the cause of the misery that would come. Jerusalem was destroyed because of the refusal of the people to accept Jesus as the Son of God. They had long fought against the word of the Lord, unwilling to subject themselves to His authority. When the judgment came in the form of the Roman army destroying the city, the only ones to blame were themselves. They were unwilling.
People refuse to believe in the Creator. They reject the Bible as the divine word of God. Misery accompanies a society that rejects God as men pursue their godless desires. Trying to make sense of their heartache, men blame God and accuse Him. The truth lies in the words of Jesus. The hearts of the people are unwilling to submit to God. Jesus told a parable of those invited to a wedding feast, and many were unwilling to come. When the Jews sought to kill Jesus when He healed a man on the Sabbath, Jesus reminded them that they were unwilling to come to the Lord to have life. When men stand condemned before the Divine Judge, it will not be the grace of God that is lacking or the love of God with empty promises. All men will be judged whether they are willing to submit to Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Most are unwilling. Are you?