“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.
And now, look, your house is abandoned. And you will never see me again until you say, ‘Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’” Luke 13:34-35 NLT
Here is a picture of our God that we should never forget.
The Lord Jesus stands in the temple precinct. He has, in no uncertain terms, just condemned the religious leaders of His people. The most highly respected religious leaders of the land, He has denounced as hypocrites and with those denunciations still ringing in the ears of the crowd, He begins to openly express His heart, His broken heart, for the very people He has just condemned.
His heart is breaking for those hypocrites and for the crowds around Him who in a matter of hours will be crying, “Crucify Him….. Crucify Him.” His heart is breaking for those whom He has labeled hypocrites and those who will soon put Him to death.
We see in this passage a picture of the heart of God. He does not delight in the destruction of sinners. He delights when they turn from their sin and flee to Him for salvation. In this powerful and touching scene we see three very explicit testimonies to Jesus’ deities, to the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we also see some very powerful warnings to those who have not repented of their sins.
In verse 34 we see a warning about unbelief, a warning about those who reject the Words of Jesus and refuse to have a relationship with Him. In verse 35 we see that God is going to visit those who do not believe and we see a warning about the final judgment.
When we see Jesus’ Word in verse 34, we see that God’s people have rejected His mercy and grace. God has been gracious to the people of Israel. He has been faithful in sending His messengers to teach them the way of salvation, but they have rejected those messengers.
Jesus laments this in these words. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.”
It is very interesting, isn’t it, that Jesus says that He is the one who has been intriguing Israel to be gathered to God. But He also makes it clear in this passage that many who profess to be God’s people reject His love. Many who are a part of the Assembly of God’s people, who call themselves by the name of God, and by the name of His people, actually reject His love.
This is the irony of what Jesus is saying in this passage. After this stinging condemnation of the Scribes and the Pharisees, Jesus now pours out His grief over Israel’s spiritual hard-heartedness. He speaks to Jerusalem, not excluding the rest of Israel, but speaking of Jerusalem as the very heart and center of that nation, speaking of Jerusalem as the symbol of the spirit and attitude of all God’s people in Israel at that time. And He repeats the name, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, and that indicates the intensity of His emotion.