"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing! Look, your house is forsaken. Truly I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.'" Luke 13:34-35
God's judgment was about to fall upon Jerusalem. The time of mercy -- the people's opportunity to repent and turn to their Messiah and Savior -- was almost gone. In fact, judgment was much closer than any dared to think. Why? Because the people had rejected and stoned the prophets sent to them in the generations before Christ, and they were rejecting their Messiah and Savior who had been sent into this world to redeem them.
Elsewhere, too, Jesus warned of Jerusalem's coming destruction under the hand of the Roman armies (cf. Luke 19:41ff.; 23:27ff.) because the people did not recognize the time of their visitation and believe in the name of the only-begotten Son of God and their Savior.
Did Jesus desire Jerusalem's fall? No. He wept over Jerusalem. He had compassion for its people, and He desired that all repent of their evil ways and turn unto Him for mercy and forgiveness. But because they would not repent and turn to Him for pardon and life everlasting, judgment was coming -- and it did come in 70 A.D. when the Roman armies laid siege to the city, broke down its walls and burned the city, killing or taking captive the city's inhabitants.
As Jesus said, "How often would I have gathered your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing!"
Once again, God's Word in Ezekiel 33:11 had application: "As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why will you die, O house of Israel?"
These words, as well as the words of Jesus, also have an application to you and to me. Jesus first and foremost desires that we repent of our evil ways and turn to Him for forgiveness and life everlasting. He seeks to gather us to Himself as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.
The people of Jerusalem would not come to Jesus, and God's judgment came upon them. But what about you and me? Will we too stubbornly resist God's call to repentance and faith? Will we refuse to be gathered under the safety of Jesus' wings?
If we will not come to Jesus, God's judgment will fall upon us as well -- both now and in eternity! Our Lord Jesus, who first and foremost desires to deal with us in mercy and forgiveness, will have no choice but to deal with us as we deserve on account of our rebellious and sinful ways.
As Jesus said to Nicodemus, "He who believes in Him is not condemned. But he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (John 3:18).
But if by the grace of God we turn to Jesus and are gathered unto Him, we will not be condemned but have everlasting life (cf. John 5:24). Under the wings of His mercy, we will find forgiveness and life eternal.
Dearest Lord Jesus, grant that I not turn away from You and Your mercy but repent and look to You for forgiveness and life eternal. I ask this for the sake of Your holy life and innocent sufferings and death in my stead. Amen.
[Devotion by Randy Moll. Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]