Sunday, September 11, 2011

Matthew 23:37-39


37 ``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. 38 ``Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! 39 ``For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, `BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!' ''

I love the Old City of Jerusalem. When we share Israel with people, we always begin in the Galilee area and then move south and up to Jerusalem. Entering that city is one of the most dramatic experiences to me. I have entered Jerusalem well over 100 times and I never have lost the thrill of it.

Yet in the 1st Century, Jerusalem was even more magnificent! Herod's Temple must have been a most amazing site to behold with all of its gold and splendor!

I can imagine Jesus looking over the city with His heart filled with grief and compassion and saying those words above. He had presented Himself as God's Messiah, yet was rejected like so many of God's prophets who were sent before. His heart is broken and He knows the coming destruction of this grand city and its people is drawing near (70 A.D.).

Then Jesus makes a curious statement , "you will not see Me until you say, BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD." Or, you will not see Me again until you welcome Me as God's Messiah for you. There is an interesting progression of passages throughout the prophets that all speak of the Jewish people (following their leadership) committing one primary sin and that sin is the rejection of God's Messiah. Then the Prophet Hosea presents the words of God saying, "I will go away (from earth) and return to My place (heaven). Until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face. In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me." And then Jesus makes this statement in Matthew that they will not see Him again until they are ready to welcome Him to return. Whatever this all means in the days ahead, you can be assured that it is our responsibility as followers of Jesus to be ready and willing to welcome Him back as God's Messiah, His Deliverer, for us.

In other words, the emphasis of our lives must be to pay attention to the present-the nasty now and now-and not hyperventilate or speculate on the future of when Jesus will return. He is coming back, but that's his business. Our business is to be ready by being faithful to him.