O JERUSALEM, JERUSALEM!
Lord, I take refuge under Your wings.
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.’”
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.”
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.
“How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings” (Psa. 36:7).
Standing in the temple courts, Jesus turns from accusation to lament over Jerusalem’s rejection of the prophets, her all future messengers. Recalling Old Testament texts which liken God to a mother bird, Jesus likens himself to a similar bird seeking to gather her lost chicks under her wings. What pain Jesus must have felt, like a mother who has lost her children! Jerusalem’s rejection of Jesus leaves her desolate, without the water of life to sustain her. Jesus will soon leave Jerusalem, only to return when Israel sings Psalm 6, which they sang upon his entry into the city.
Later on the Mount of Olives overlooking the temple, Jesus’ disciples marvel over its buildings. At this point in time (around A.D. 30/33), Herod’s rebuilding of the main temple structure is complete, notwithstanding minor ongoing construction in some parts. The temple is incredible: its white marble stones and gold veneer would have reflected the sunlight. Josephus describes it as “the most marvelous edifice which we have ever seen or heard of, whether one considers its structure, its magnitude, the richness of its every detail.”
Jesus’ response is shocking—the entire structure will be destroyed. This will take place in A.D. 66–70, following Israel’s rebellion against Rome. All that will be left are some foundation stones—the Western Wall. Recently, I visited it and saw Jews praying fervently there, mourning the temple’s destruction. I was deeply moved. I thought of Jesus’ lament and prediction. I wanted to cry out, “You don’t need this temple. Jesus is the temple!” I pondered how I, from faraway New Zealand, could know this, yet so few of the Master’s own people understand. I prayed, joining Jesus’ lament. They need their Savior. Everyone needs him. We must pray. We must share Christ with them and all people.
Give thanks for your salvation—that we can take refuge under our God’s wings. Pray for Israel. Pray for the lost everywhere. Arise to give witness to all you meet.
Lord, give us insight into how Your people Israel regard things, especially things pertaining to the Messiah.
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