2016-04-14 - Jesus' Lament
Matt 23:37 (AMP) “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who murders the prophets and stones [to death] those [messengers] who are sent to her [by God]! How often I wanted to gather your children together [around Me], as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.
This entire chapter of Matthew is a scathing assault on mankind's effort to reach God on our own. Jesus rails at the Pharisees and Scribes for their outward religion - white washed tombs. (v27) Those who create 'the rules' that must be followed to be righteous. He castigated these men for leading their charges astray.
We must take great care before we even wag our fingers at the recipients of the Lord's wrath. We ourselves are far from perfect - frail and prone to stumble. The eight woes from verse 13 to 34 are stinging rebukes that can land close to our own feet if we are not careful. If we are honest with ourselves it is quite possible that we would have been in the crowd shouting, "Crucify Him!" And when we realized that He was the one He claimed to be may have wept bitter tears like Peter after denying His Savior and friend three times.
Verse 37 is the heart of Christ toward Israel and all humankind. His desire is to gather us back to Himself, grace, mercy and love poured out for us. The sad words that surely reflect the culture today, "and you were unwilling." Just like Adam and Eve allowing themselves to be tempted by the one thing that had been withheld from them. We were unwilling.
We are the salt of the Earth. If we have lost our preserving qualities then we are only worthy to be trampled under foot. (Matt 5:13) Verse 37 is the heart of a loving God reaching out to His creation. This should be our hearts as well reflecting the love of God for a fallen world and a selfish and broken culture. Those who drive the culture are the Pharisees of our day.
Jesus restored Peter at breakfast on the beach when Peter was sure that he had lost his favor with his Messiah. Several weeks later it was clear that the fire had been rekindled in Peter's heart. The world around us spins so fast and demands our attention to the point where it becomes thorns that choke out the seeds that Jesus spreads in our hearts. (Matt 13:7) Just like Peter He can restore us. Make time for Him - start with just five minutes a day and make that time inviolable.
How do you start a quiet time? Maybe that's next time.
Thank you, Lord. You have given us so much. We often take it for granted or are so busy that we don't even see it any more. Rekindle the fire in the hearts of your children for the people around us who need You. Stoke the furnace of revival in our culture. Bind up the wounded hearts. Call home the lost. Amen.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.