7682 - Matter of Will

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Our study for today gives us an intimate picture of Jesus in his longing for those Jews in Jerusalem to come to him, to believe in him.

From Luke 13:31-35

31At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, "Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you."

32He replied, "Go tell that fox, 'I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.' 33In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!

34"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 35Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'"

This passage opens with a bit of intrigue. A group of Pharisees came to Jesus with a message. On the surface this appears to be a group of Pharisees who are concerned for the welfare of Jesus, but the actions and words of Jesus show this to be an attempt to get him out of their area, further from their affairs which often were unjust and evil.

This delegation told Jesus that Herod wanted to kill him. Perhaps they thought this would frighten Jesus and get him to go back to Galilee.

In any case, Jesus knew his past, his present mission, and his future. He knew that His death would not occur at the hand of Herod.

Jesus sent a message to Herod. He called Herod a fox. Perhaps a reference to his sly, underhanded actions as the Roman authority in that region. Jesus said, Tell that fox, ‘I will reach my goal.’

The compassion of Jesus comes forth as he thinks of Jerusalem.

Some six hundred years previously Jerusalem had been captured, stripped and destroyed by the Babylonians, and the reason God permitted it was because Israel had turned to idol worship and had forsaken God.

Now, in Jesus’ day, Jesus remembers the injustices and evil, which the Jews had committed within Jerusalem throughout their history. They had killed many of God’s prophets and stoned God’s messengers. Now they were rejecting the miraculous revelation of Jesus as the Messiah.

But Jesus longed for the Jewish people in Jerusalem to repent and humble themselves under God. He used the symbol of a hen gathering her chicks under her wings in protection from external danger. Jesus desired for this to take place between himself and the people so that he might protect them from impending danger.

The hang-up was that the people were not willing! They refused to come to Jesus to have life. They were determined to continue their independent, evil ways. Their will was unbending. Jesus told them, “Your house is left to you desolate.” Sure enough in 70 AD, after a long siege the Romans captured the city with more than a million lives being sacrificed. They burned and destroyed the city, and dismantled the massive walls surrounding it, stone by stone.

Perhaps Jesus was foreseeing some of these scenes as he grieved over Jerusalem. This was the city chosen by God as the location of the temple, the place where his name and presence dwelt for years.

We can detect that the heart of Jesus was heavy at this time. His words are prophetic in that they foresee final rejection of Jesus as Messiah, his suffering and crucifixion in about three months there in Jerusalem. He declares that they will not see him again after those black days until he returns again in his second coming, even still in the future.