Sun, Aug 20, 2017
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem
Matthew 23:37-39 by Nial Gafurov
Series: GCS Sermons 2017

In chapter 23 of his gospel Matthew records for us the last public sermon Jesus preached during His earthly ministry. The bulk of this sermon was addressed to His disciples who were among the crowds and to the Pharisees, warning and exposing the dangers of false and merely external worship of God. In these last few verses of the sermon Jesus turns His attention to the whole nation of Israel.
Jesus' words come with a lot of emotions as He laments over the heart  hardness of His people and their rejection of Him. In Luke 19:41 we read that Jesus wept as He approached and saw the city of Jerusalem. Some have even considered Jesus to be the prophet Jeremiah who was known as a weeping prophet, and perhaps this is the connection people made.
The Lord had a special place in His heart for the nation of Israel. After all these were a special people chosen by God and brought into a covenant relationship with Him. Because the Lord loved His people He was compelled to pursue what was best for them. To illustrate His compassion for them Jesus compared Himself to a mother hen that runs trying to gather her young before the storm. He earnestly desired to care and to protect them.
Despite the Lord's desire to bring His people under His protection, they were unwilling. In fact, not only were they unwilling, they hostile toward God and His truth. Jesus describes Jerusalem as a city which kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. This was their perpetual attitude towards God's truth and those who delivered that truth to them. Jesus also illustrated this attitude in "The parable of the Landowner" (Matt 21:33-41). This is the nature of sinful man. Given the opportunity to choose grace over self-righteousness, God's salvation over self-preservation, he will always choose the latter. Scripture clearly teaches that apart from the regenerating work of the Spirit of God men are not capable of choosing life. Sinful men choose sin.  Spiritually dead men choose death. Men always choose according to what's in their hearts.
Because the nation of Israel rejected the grace that was extended to them Jesus they will now face the consequences of their rejection. As Jesus finished saying His final words the very next chapter begins with him leaving the temple. Just like in the Old Testament times when the Philistines took possession of the ark of God and the glory of God has departed from Israel, so now the glory of God in the face of His Son has also departed from Israel. In only a few day Jesus will be crucified never again to be publicly seen to anyone except His disciples.
But God is not done with Israel. In fact, Jesus said that there will come a time when He will come again and He will be received and worshiped with joy. The Old Testament prophets prophesied that on that day the Lord will pour out the Spirit of grace and supplication followed by a repentance on a national scale (Zech 12:10). At that time the Lord will sit on the throne of David and He will reign as King and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land. Our God is a sovereign God whose plans can not be frustrated. One day He will once again bring glory to Himself through the nation Israel.