READING: 1 Samuel 30-31, Luke 13:23-35
“How often I wanted to gather your children together . . .”
Imagine the scene. Jesus looked over the city of Jerusalem, whose people had so often rejected God’s prophets. Even as He spoke, the city was teeming with religious people going through the rituals of their Hebrew faith. Some people in the city had chosen to follow Him, but most had not. Now, the end was near.
Twice He called the city by name, indicating both His emphasis and the emotion in His words: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem” (Luke 13:34). They had historically killed the prophets and stoned those sent to her, and even then they were about to do the same to the Son of God. It is not insignificant that He grieved over them even though He would be their next victim. He had longed to care for them as “a hen gathers her brood under her wings” (Luke 13:34), but they would have no part of that. Like a mother seeking to protect her own, Jesus had wanted to protect them. Indeed, His own words, “how often . . .,” remind us that He called them to Himself more than once.
They, in turn, had no desire to rest under the shelter of His wings (Psa. 61:4), with His hovering over them in care (Deut. 32:11). The depth of His passion for them did not change the depth of their rejection of Him. They were, in the words of one writer, the “unwilling object of his love.”* Now, within decades of Jesus’ speaking these words, the city would lie in ruins at the hands of the Roman armies.
Their time was running out, and Jesus lamented their situation. He would, in fact, weep over the city as He made His way to the cross (Luke 19:41). Somehow, Jesus sovereignly ruled over the city even as He genuinely felt compassion for them.
When I read these texts, I’m forced to consider at least two questions in my own life. First, do I ever cause Jesus such grief? How many times have I not responded properly when He sought me? when He sent someone to speak His Word to my heart? Second, do I grieve like Jesus did for those who reject God? I fear that I speak more about such grief than I actually feel that grief.
Perhaps that admission ought to cause me to grieve even as I write these words.
- Consider whether Christ might be grieving your choices today. If so, turn back to Him.
- Ask God to bring you to grief over those you know who do not know God.
PRAYER: “Lord, Your compassion and love amaze me. Help me today to bring You no grief.”
TOMORROW’S READING: 2 Samuel 1-2, Luke 14:1-24
* Leifeld, W. L. (1984). Luke. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke (Vol. 8, p. 975). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.