2000-11-18 - Messiah: His Final Call to Israel
Messiah: His Final Call to Israel Series, Part 13
The last few weeks we looked at some passages of Scripture that dealt with the "real peace process" in Israel from the Old Testament. This week I would like to draw attention to what Jesus of Nazareth has to say.
Jesus concludes His public ministry by denouncing the scribes and Pharisees who were hypocritical. This passage is found in Matthew chapter 23. He concludes it with the following:
Matthew 23:37-39 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, 'Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.'"
In order to understand this passage properly, one must analyze the statement: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her!" In these words Jesus addresses official Jerusalem, that "killeth the prophets and stoneth them that are sent unto her" -- Jerusalem with her children, the Jewish people. That He is addressing official Jerusalem is clear from the fact that those addressed are the ones who were given authority by Moses to execute those guilty of certain crimes, and who exercised these powers. Jerusalem to which the prophets were sent is a literal city, and the people of Israel, who thought of Jerusalem as their mother city, are also literal. This interpretation is confirmed by the facts that the prophets were sent to all the people of Israel, and yet they are said, in this passage, to have been sent to Jerusalem. From these facts it is clear, therefore, that Jesus uses the term "Jerusalem" in a twofold manner.
The statement of Jesus regarding Jerusalem's stoning the prophets is revealing. According to tradition, Isaiah was sawn asunder. There probably is in this statement a knowledge on the part of Jesus that official Jerusalem would execute Him.
Jesus exclaims that He often would have gathered scattered Israel as a hen does her chickens, but they willed not. Our translation of the Greek says "and ye would not," but in the original the verb indicates the exercise of the will. If the leaders of Israel had accepted Him, He would have, during His personal ministry, gathered them to the homeland, but they willed not that He should do so.
Since they willed not to accept Him, He declares, "Your house is left unto you desolate." What is meant by the word "house?" Some expositors think that it refers to the temple. This surmise is possible. Others, however, think that by the house, Jesus refers to what is known as "the Beth Din," the house in which the Sanhedrin met, or the Sanhedrin itself, which was the Supreme Court of Israel. This second interpretation is also possible, for the literal building of the Sanhedrin was destroyed, and the Sanhedrin itself soon ceased as an institution.
John the Apostle, foreseeing the future, declares, "Behold, he cometh with the clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they that pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth shall mourn over him. Even so, Amen." (Revelation 1:7).
What is the significance of "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord?" (Matthew 23:39). Jesus came in the name of the Lord, and the leaders of Israel rejected Him-without proper investigation concerning His claims. He will come again in the name of the Lord, according to Psalm 118. God will send this same Jesus whom Israel crucified: "Repent ye therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that so there may come seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord; and that he may send the Christ who hath been appointed for you, even Jesus:" (Acts 3:19,20). Since Jesus came in the name of the Lord, and since He will not return until Israel says, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord," it is clear that the people of Israel will see and recognize that Jesus was and is their true Messiah.
The people of Israel will learn the facts about Jesus and will accept Him as their longed-for Messiah. Then He will return and deliver Israel and establish a reign of righteousness. This is the "real peace process." Prayer changes things and I pray that you will pray today that Israel will grow in faith by hearing the Word of God regarding the facts about peace. The Bible describes many troublesome times with Great Tribulation, yet amidst the turmoil -- if we look closely -- we see the events that bring real peace to Israel and the world.
Psalm 122:6 "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee."
In His Service,