We are still with Jesus in the temple in Jerusalem where He has been through testing by every religious group imaginable and bested them all. He has just shared the seven woes of the Pharisees and is now expressing His deep longing to show love to His chosen people.
Jesus looks out longingly from the temple steps and surveys the crowd. His heart aches for all the people He sees. The widow, the merchant, the boy running in the street, and even the Pharisee standing near the column watching Him. He longs for them to understand and accept the truth. He longs to share the Father’s love with each one of them personally and as a group collectively. He thinks over all the times God has reached down personally and changed the course of events to protect Israel. He remembers all the times the people stubbornly refused to follow God’s commands. How they were sent direct instructions from God through the prophets and how they beat or stoned or outright killed each one sent.
Jesus shakes His head and voices His pain. While voicing His pain He also clearly points out Israel’s refusal to be loved and her behavior towards God’s attempts to do so. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her winds, and you were not willing!” (verse 37).
Jesus pauses for a moment. “See, your house is left to you desolate” (verse 38). Israel will not be receiving any more prophets. The Son has come and they are doing to Him as they please. This was their last chance. After this, the promise will be removed. The blessings that God wanted to bestow on them are gone. They are spiritually bankrupt.
“For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord’” (verse 39). Jesus remembers His arrival into Jerusalem just days ago to the sound of this very phrase. Jesus will not be returning to Jerusalem again after His crucifixion. He will not make another public appearance until His final return.
Jesus shakes His head again and begins to descend the temple steps. He is tired and ready to go home for the night. Tomorrow is another day closer to His culminating sacrifice.
Father God, I understand Jesus’ longing to reach out to His wayward children. I have that same desire to reach out to mine. My children respond with less violence than Israel did, but still I am sometimes rebuffed. But, also like You and because of You, I keep reaching anyway.
You knew Israel would reject You before You even called them. This was part of Your plan from the very beginning. Knowing the outcome didn’t make the process any easier to endure. Your heart still hurt because of their behavior. Thank You for going through all the heartache so You could reach out to me too. I’m sorry for all the pain I caused and still cause You. I want to be gathered under Your wing. I want to stop resisting. Forgive me when I pull away. Thank You for always wooing me back.