MERCY… AND JUDGEMENT
Thank You, God, for Your patience, mercy and compassion.
Read Matthew 23:37—24:2
37 “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, and you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’[a]”
The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times
24 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
a Matthew 23:39 Psalm 118:26
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHas there been a time in your life when someone has shown you real grace and mercy?
Jesus’ moving lament over Jerusalem is something we need to remember as we turn to an extended and challenging section of teaching that focuses on God’s judgment.
The Bible is full of passages that show God’s mercy and grace: Psalm 103:8 reminds us that “the Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” Time and time again in the Bible, a loving, compassionate God withholds punishment, longing instead for a change of heart from his people who turn their backs on him. In this passage Jesus uses the maternal metaphor of a mothering bird who gathers her young under her wing (37) in a moving reminder of God’s love and his longing for all to be reconciled to him.
And yet judgment will come. In this passage judgment is both imminent and delayed. Jesus predicts tragic events that will happen in the lifetime of his disciples (2), such as the fall of Jerusalem to the Roman general Titus in A.D. 70. But he will soon reveal that the final judgment will happen at a later date; that there will be a period of delay (Matt. 24:48b) before the return of the “Son of Man.”
How does Christ’s passionate compassion make you feel? Do you allow yourself to feel this way about the tragic situations of our world? Why or why not?
Ask God to break your heart for what breaks his.
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