AND YOU WERE NOT WILLING
Lord we are willing and available.
Read LUKE 13:31–35
Jesus’ Sorrow for Jerusalem
31 At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.”
32 He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ 33 In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!
34 “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. 35 Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’[a]”
a Luke 13:35 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.
“God is looking for willing hearts … God has no favorites. You do not have to be special, but you have to be available.” (Winkie Pratney, b 1944)
Today’s passage showcases the bravery and tenderness of Jesus. His response to the Pharisees’ warning is clear – it is the Father who determines and directs his life, not Herod or the Pharisees; and his mission will continue to unfold according to God’s timing and plan. Jesus will not be distracted from his ministry or his ultimate goal. His focus and persistence provide examples for us to emulate.
Jesus then focuses on the city of Jerusalem itself. As Israel’s largest city as well as its political and spiritual capital, Jerusalem symbolizes the entire nation. Though Jews from around the world frequently visit it, the city has a long and tragic history of rejecting and killing God’s prophets (1 Kings 19:10; 2 Chronicles 24:19; Jeremiah 2:30; 26:20–23); Jesus will suffer the same fate.
Though Jesus is fully aware of this, he shows remarkable affection towards the city in a rare display of emotion and longing. This points to the idea that Jesus visits Jerusalem more than the synoptic Gospels indicate (cf., John 2:13; 4:45; 5:1; 7:10; 10:22). Nothing hurts so much as the offer of love to someone which gets rejected. It seems clear that Jesus is heartbroken by the way the Jews of Jerusalem have rejected him, yet he still continues to offer unrequited love. The image of a mother hen gathering her chicks under her wings is quite telling. However, those who persist in rejecting the love of God put themselves in danger of the wrath of God, as Jesus makes clear in his warning.
“And you were not willing” (34) is one of the most tragic lines in the Bible. We can choose how we will respond to Jesus’ loving invitation to us. Choose a willing and available heart today.
Lord, Your people love Jerusalem as much as You do, and we sorrow over all the evil done within and to it.
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