Matt. 23:37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 38 See, your house is left to you, desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
Jesus is lamenting over the beloved city of Jerusalem for she is destroying herself by her own sins. His cry is one of great affection for he dearly loves his children and this city which they call their home. Sadly, as a result of their infidelity he knows that the city will be lost. It is in the new Jerusalem, the new kingdom where his children will recognize that he is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. In the meantime, his heart is broken for his people and he laments what they have become for they have lost the hand of protection from God.
Lest we become too critical of the citizens of Jerusalem and think that we are somehow “special” — how much more special could Jerusalem have been?
I believe that even today God may be looking over his people and lamenting their unfaithfulness. The scribes and Pharisees of Jerusalem thought that they were being faithful because of the ways in which they followed the letter of the law. Laws do not make us faithful! And — the faithfulness of God’s people is not dependent upon the laws we do or do not pass. The faithfulness of his people depends on the ways in which his children live out their lives every single day. We are hypocrites if we argue against what we see as being incongruent with God’s laws, but refuse to respond to a needy world with the spirit and attitude of Christ.
Jesus just may be looking over us and crying — “My children, my children” — you just don’t get it. The scribes and the Pharisees were consumed by the law and they didn’t get it. They couldn’t see the Messiah and nor could they understand the spirit of the Law which God intended to be reflected in their behaviors.
Jesus’ advent meant a new understanding and the Spirit enabling God’s children to be living reflections of him. When this happens there should not be a need for lament.
Lord, may your Spirit empower me to bring your law to life today. Amen.
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