April 13 I Wednesday
1 Samuel 22-24
“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.” —Matthew 23:37
Imagine sinful humanity trying to outwit the Creator of the Universe, the One who formed them in the womb, the One who has known them all their life, the One who knows every hair on their head, the One who knows how the cosmos works, and the One who sustains all things. Yet, Jesus allows Himself to be verbally attacked and questioned by the very people that He spoke into existence. Even as they try to trap and undermine Him, Jesus is gentle and full of grace.
What we see of Jesus in Scripture is that He patiently allows Himself to be questioned by those trying to kill Him. This reaches a culmination in Matthew 23, where Jesus pronounces seven woes towards the teachers of the law and Pharisees. In summary, Jesus is basically saying to the religious elite, “You validate yourselves as righteous, but inside, you are full of dead man’s bones. You like to subjugate others and make yourself look better than others, but in the process, you misrepresent God.” He uses very strong language in Matthew 23 to convey His message, calling the teachers of the law and Pharisees, hypocrites, blind guides, blind fools, greedy, snakes and brood of vipers. We may get the impression that Jesus is saying it with an angry tone, but as we understand the love of God, we can actually sense that He is heartbroken towards them. Some may interpret Jesus doing this to humiliate them, but it is not like Jesus is happy to confront them with their sins; rather, He is seeking to heal them. Peter confirms this heart of God: “[The Lord] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Jesus actually laments over Jerusalem during Holy Week saying, “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” (Matthew 23:37). The fact that the religious elite would not recognize God coming to them, but sought to kill Him, breaks His heart.
Ultimately, on Good Friday, the religious leaders condemned Jesus to death by nailing Him on a cross. Yet, even as Jesus hung, struggling to breathe, one of His last words were, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). What we will find amazing during Holy Week, and in our world today, is that Jesus meets each person with compassion and grace, longing that they all come to a knowledge of who He is.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your heart of compassion and grace towards every human being. What an amazing love, even when some have their hearts hardened against You, want to discredit You or to kill You, You still desire for them to be saved!