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God's Grief at the Death of the Wicked - Part 1

June 14, 2020 Speaker: Dr. Rick Gregory Series:

Topic: Gods Love Verse: Luke 13:34–13:35

Theme: God desires to save any sinner who turns to His for mercy and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ.

I. The Remorse by God – 13:34

A. The Anguish of the Savior

  • In the previous section, we witnessed the opening maneuver by the Pharisees to get Jesus to Jerusalem so that they might kill Him.
  • Jesus rebuts them by expressing absolute confidence in God’s power to fulfill His purpose throughout the ministry of Jesus.
  • He had just declared that instead of being killed by Herod, Jesus was well aware of God’s predetermined plan that He would die in Jerusalem – “… for it cannot be that a prophet would perish outside of Jerusalem.”
  • As Jesus ponders this fate, His heart breaks as He realizes what His crucifixion will mean for the Nation of Israel.
  • As He reflects on what this means for Israel, Jesus laments their rejection of Him – “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, … How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!” 
  • The heart of God is not condemnation – but redemption – and Jesus’ agony of heart expressed here is an expression of God’s compassion – Ezekiel 33:11; Jeremiah 13:15-17.
  • Several months later, as Jesus is actually entering Jerusalem, Matthew shows us that He reiterates this same denunciation, but it is noted that He weeps – cp. Luke 19:41.
  • The idea of “gather your children together” is an analogy to a mother hen who seeks to protect “her brood under her wings” – a reference to the safety from the wrath of God that He desired to provide them as the Savior.
  • However, “… you would not have it!” – cp. John 1:11-12; Isaiah 30:18.
  • Jesus literally says, “I willed, but you willed not!”
  • “Nothing in Scripture is more certain than the truth that God is sovereign over all things; but God’s Word nowhere teaches determinism, as this verse makes clear. God was abundantly willing for Israel and all men to receive and follow His Son, but most of them were unwilling. They did not turn from Christ because of fate but solely because of their own unwillingness. When a person rejects Christ, it is never God’s desire or God’s fault but always his own.”
  • “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem …” is an indication of the intensity of His lament – an emphasis of the depth of Jesus’ passion – cp. “Martha, Martha;”  “Simon, Simon;”  “Saul, Saul;” “Absolem, My son Absolem.”
  • Ironically, “Jerusalem” [יְרוּשָׁלַ֫םִ] means “foundation of peace” but Jesus is declaring that there would be no peace known by that city from this point forward.

B. The Antagonism of the Sinner

  • Jesus refers to “Jerusalem the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her!”
  • “Jerusalem” is used here at a metonymy for all of Israel – those who were just condemned for their rejection not only of the Messiah, but all of those who were being sent to them from God.
  • The history of Israel was troubled by constant rebellion against God and those who were sent by God – the prophets.
  • From “Abel to Zechariah” there had been a constant rejection of God among God’s chosen that had resulted in great culpability on the part of Israel – cp. Luke 11:47-51.
  • The love for sin causes sinners to be hostile toward the Savior and toward anyone who would call them to repent and believe in the Savior – John 3:19-20; John 15:18-19.
  • The most troubling aspect of Jesus denunciation of “Jerusalem” is that they branded truth-tellers “those sent to her” as blasphemers and executed them according to the law for blasphemers – “stones those sent to her!” – cp.  Leviticus 24:14-16.
  • The apostle Paul provides a glimpse into the exasperated heart of a grieving God when, quoting Isaiah, he said: “But as for Israel He says, ‘All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.’” – cp. Romans 10:21.

Application:

  1. How do Jesus’ words demonstrate His deep desire to protect you from God’s wrath?
  2. How should this affect your faithfulness to Him, the obedience of Him, and worship for Him?
  3. Think about your most egregious offenses against God … How does His desire to forgive “Jerusalem” for her atrocities assure you re: your own sins?

II. The Rejection by God – 13:35a

A. The Announcement of Abandonment 

  • Jesus calls upon Israel to “wake-up” by calling for their attention: “Behold, your house is left to you desolate …”
  • “being left” [ἀφίημι] literally means abandoned, released, given up (it is a Pres. Act. Ind. 3ps) – meaning that it is a constant state of abandonment by God.
  • Israel had experienced such judgments by God before – even as the glory of the Lord departed from the Temple and was absent until the return of that glory through the Person of Christ in the incarnation (over 400 years of silence) – cp. Ezekiel.
  • However, this act of rebellion against God was the consummate rejection – in that it was the rejection of Immanuel and took the most base course possible – the murder of the Son of God.
  • As a result of this rebellion and settled unbelief, Jesus declared that God’s abandonment of Israel was going to be something more significant than anything that Israel had ever known before.
  • Israel had experienced various forms of abandonment by God before:
  1. Throughout the period of the Judges, God would turn the Jews over to oppressors who would trouble them until they repented (oppressed but in the land).
  2. Israel & Judah had been given over to the Assyrians and Babylonians as a chastisement for their unfaithfulness and rebellion (oppressed but deported from the land).
  3. Now, however, Jesus was declaring that the abandonment was going to be worse than anything they’ve ever experienced (oppressed and dispersed throughout the world).

B. The Anguish in Abandonment

  • The condition in which God was going to abandon Israel is described as “desolate” [ἔρημος] – isolated or deserted; unfrequented, a secluded wilderness.
  • Spiritually, Israel having rejected the Messiah would know NO awareness of the Messiah – “For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me …”
  • God is saying that as a result of their willful blindness to the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus, God will blind their eyes so that they may not see the glories of God in Christ.
  • For those Jews standing and hearing the word of Christ and for countless generations of Jews to come, this abandonment and isolation of Israel from the knowledge of God was determined by God – cp. Romans 11:7-10
  • As a result of this, Israel remains a people – preserved by the mercies and grace of God for the purpose of His future glory – but totally ignorant of the saving power of Jesus Christ.
  • Israel has for 2,000 years groped around as a blind man – unaware of the glory of God displayed through the work of Christ as the Church has been the special object of God’s mercies and grace.

Application:

  1. Jesus curse on Israel demonstrates that sinners can push Him too far – how should that impact sinners … including yourself (understanding this is different for unsaved vs. saved people).
  2. How should thoughts of God being “unjust” for His decision to judge people be framed? 
  3. What is the problem with people who lay the fault at God’s feet for His judgment against sinners instead of at the feet of those sinners?

 

Considerations:

- God wishes for sinners to repent and be saved – His call to men is real, heartfelt, and urgent.

- Sinners who die unrepentant do so “over Christ’s dead body.”

- Persistent rejection results in a final and terrible reciprocation by God – the reprobation of the sinner.

- It is time for those who have repented and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ to walk worthy of their calling.

- It is time for those who have yet to repent to do so while it is still being offered to them – do not live presumptuously!

 

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