A City Loved, Condemned


Luke 13:31-35
Rom 8:31b-39 / Psa 109

Behold, your house will be abandoned. I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’
(Lk.13:35)

Jerusalem as predicted,
Is still a city divided.
But our Lord has resurrected,
And Satan has been defeated.

At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.” He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem! 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. Behold, your house will be abandoned. I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” (Luke 13:31-35).

Reflection

Jesus naturally loved Jerusalem, the city of His fond memories. He recalled a passage from Psalm 91 when He said He longed to gather the Jews together “as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.” God gathers us “under the shelter of His wings” (Psa. 91:4). But He could not save it from destruction because the people there refused to accept Him as the Messiah. Being omniscient, He foresaw its ruin under the siege of the Roman empire in 70 AD, and for the next thousands of years would be torn by conflicts and wars, as we see it still happening today in the continuing strife between the Israelites and the Moslems.

Jesus felt great sorrow for Jerusalem, the great city that King David built, but sadly, one that killed its own prophets, and would crucify the One sent by God to save it. The great paradox of human history is that in spite of God’s fondness for Jerusalem, it has been left by time because of its people’s intransigence. (“The first shall be last.”) But the whole world has been saved, because the Messiah has resurrected and His Good News has spread to the rest of the world. Satan is truly confused, because he thought that Jerusalem was the place of his ultimate victory against the Son of God, as here our Lord would be crucified. But the violence that the people of Jerusalem would inflict on the Lamb of God would be met with love, tenderness and compassion, reflecting the mercy and forgiveness of God for all the transgressions committed against HIM.

This is the message that Jesus imparts to all generations of Christians: that we are saved even if we do not deserve to be because of God’s grace, and as long as we acknowledge Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. It also gives us pause to reflect on God’s response to rejection and hostility as the way to attain genuine peace. As He promised to all who consider themselves true Christians, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Let us honor His Name by responding with love to those who hurt us, and those who hate us.

Father God, You have shown us the true meaning of Love. Help us to exhibit Your grace and compassion to others. Jesus our Lord has revealed to us that the unforgiving will never gain Your forgiveness, and those who do not measure up to His Name will not be worthy of Your kingdom. Help us, Lord to improve our relationships with those who are hostile to us so that we may proudly stake a claim in His Name. Amen.

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