Gods Grief at the Death of the Wicked | Part 3
July 12, 2020 Speaker: Dr. Rick Gregory Series:
Topic: Judgement 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.
How do Jesus’ words demonstrate His deep desire to protect you from God’s wrath?
How should this affect your faithfulness to Him, obedience of Him, and worship for Him?
Think about your most egregious offenses against God … How does His desire to forgive “Jerusalem” for her atrocities assure you re: your own sins?
As we have seen, the heart of God is to save sinners from their sin – He is a Savior! Yet, when sinners reject Him, and exchange the glory of redemption for idolatrous trysts with sinful activities, or lesser gods such as wealth, career, or family, there is a constant query seeking to discover whether there is something better. There is no one more miserable than a sinner running from God. God will give a certain amount of rope, but at some point, when a heart has been thoroughly hardened, the opportunity for salvation, redemption, and freedom from sin is closed and God’s wrath is revealed. Romans 1:28-32 describes this as God giving sinners over to a depraved mind. In such a state of abandonment, sinners’ only hope is to completely turn from their sin calling upon the mercy of God to grant them repentance so that they might be saved.
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 …”
- “Your house …” [οἶκος] – has multiple references:
- It refers to the Temple – the place where God was represented and the people of Israel were to come to worship – God was leaving them without access to Himself.
- It refers to national Israel as represented by the city of Jerusalem – as a people, the Jews were to be chastised and without God’s protection (seen in the very principle of individual discipline within the church – cp. 1 Corinthians 5:5).
- It refers to the individual Jewish person who would generally be without God – a reversal to their historic privilege before the Lord – cp. Ephesians 2:12; 4:17-18.
- “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 10:18-19; 11:23.
- 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.
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.
- Israel had experienced various forms of abandonment by God before:
- 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).
- 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).
- 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).
- This began in 70 AD with the destruction of Jerusalem with its Temple at the hands of the Romans under Titus during which over 1 Million Jews died.
a) It continued throughout the early centuries with Jews begin banished from Jerusalem in AD 630 followed by the Crusades where Jews were slaughtered wherever they could be found, not only in Israel, but throughout Europe as the armies marched toward Israel.
b) Jews were expelled from England, France, Austria and others from AD 1300- 1655.
c) In the 19th Century, the Russians blamed the Jews for the assassination of Tsar Alexander which resulted in the “Pogroms” – the massacre of Jews in Russia
d) In the 20th Century, the most famous persecution is known as the Holocaust where over 6 Million Jews were murdered by the Nazis.
e) We know that the worst is yet to come for the Jews as they will be hunted and slaughtered by the Antichrist during the Tribulation period – known as “the Time of Jacob’s Distress” – cp. Matthew 24:21; Jeremiah 30:7.
- 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.
- Whereas individual Jews have been gloriously saved, as a whole the Nation of Israel is oblivious to the glories of Christ and experiencing the discipline of the Lord which will culminate in a future humility and repentance as predicted by the Lord in this verse.
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).
How should thoughts of God being “unjust” for His decision to judge people be framed?
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?
As we have noted, Jesus provides an eloquent summary of the tumultuous relationship that has existed between God and Israel in these two verses. Having chosen them as His unique people, making an unconditional covenant with Abraham and then again with David, the people of Israel have strayed away from God, being compared by God as an adulterous people. However, even as God demonstrated through the object lesson of Hosea’s faithfulness to his unfaithful wife, God intends to fulfill His covenants with Israel as He promised. This fulfillment does not rest upon the worthiness of Israel, but on the promises of God. He explicitly declares this – cp. Deuteronomy 4:37; 7:6-8; 9:4-6.
The stubbornness of Israel repeatedly caused God to chastise them, through oppressors in the land, then through oppressors who deported them to Assyria and Babylon, and Jesus informs us that they would be abandoned by God throughout the Church age – the period of time between His ascension and His 2nd Coming. During this time, Israel has been preserved as a people, but under the punishment of God for their sins of rejecting their Messiah.
III. The Restoration by God – 13:35b
A. The Sinners’ Confession
- Contrary to those theologians who conclude that God is finished with Israel, claiming that Israel has forfeited the promises of God through their unbelief (as if being the elect people of God is something that the elect must preserve through their compliance), God is NOT finished with Israel.
- If it were not for the next word of Christ, one might claim an eternal abandonment by God; but, Jesus makes it clear that despite the millions of Jews who would be eternally lost through their personal unbelief, the nation of Israel itself will be preserved and saved.
- Jesus in announcing the abandonment clarified that it is temporary through what He said: “… until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
- God’s determined will is that the covenant promises given to Abraham will be fulfilled through the ultimate deliverance of His chosen people – cp. Jeremiah 31:31-34; Zechariah 12:10-14; Isaiah 53:1-12.
- When God is finished with “bringing salvation to the Gentiles” – Romans 11:11; when “the fullness of the Gentiles has come in…, all Israel will be saved.” – Romans 11:25-27.
- Your own confidence in God’s promises to you rides upon our ability to observe Him fulfilling His promises to another people – Israel; if He refuses to keep His unconditional promises to Israel, what confidence can we have that He will keep His promises to us?
- This is the essential issue dividing Covenant theologians who say that Israel disqualified herself and the promises of blessing given to them by God have been transferred to another people – the Church.
- However, such an arbitrary hermeneutic that takes the curses of God literally but dismisses the attending promises of blessing as figurative, breeds the inability to be certain about any of them.
- God’s promises are faithful – Deuteronomy 4:31; Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29.
B. The Savior’s Coming
- When God’s grace is returned to Israel and they are turned from their sin in fulfillment of the New Covenant, they will see the Lord Jesus and declare: “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”
- “Blessed” [εὐλογημένος - Perf. Pass Part.] emphasizes that the state of the Messiah “has been and is now” praise-worthy.
- Jesus will return and bring blessing through the salvation of Israel and will sit upon the throne of David and rule in fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant throughout the Millennial Kingdom – Jeremiah 33:14-22; Matthew 24:29-31.
How does Jesus’ complete resolve to suffer for your sins impact you today?
Jesus’ life demonstrated complete submission to the Father – does this motivate or discourage you in your daily life? … why or how?
Pause to ponder the resoluteness of Christ in going to Jerusalem … in what ways does this convince you that He cares for you soul?
- Jesus prophesies the future restoration of God’s favor with Israel – God will fulfill His promises.
- God’s faithfulness to Israel is the measure of His faithfulness to you and me.
- Although Israel, as a nation, is going through dark and difficult days as a consequence of her sin, there is hope for them in Jesus Christ.
- Any sinner who has rejected God in the past can find forgiveness in Christ if they will repent and believe.
- Each of us needs to beware that we do not harden our hearts to the grace offered to us through Christ Jesus, but remain sensitive to how we can glorify Him through our faith!