“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling,” (23:37).
Oh can you hear Him, Jesus, Holy God, Humble Servant, Blessed Redeemer, Him Who Lamented over Jerusalem? Jerusalem, His holy city and chosen people had become engulfed in a false religious system reeking of hypocrisy; yet still He desired to gather them to Himself. And rather than be gathered beneath His loving arms, they rejected Him Who Lamented.
His lament over Jerusalem followed His scathing review of the teachers of the law and the Pharisees, confronting that which most concerns Him, the condition of the heart.
Consider Him Who Lamented
He Lamented the hearts of those accepting authority without authenticity (23:1-3).
He Lamented the hearts of those pursuing preaching but never practicing, (23:4, 13, 15).
He Lamented the hearts of those hungering for honor but not humility, (23:5-6).
He Lamented the hearts of those tantalized by titles but not by truth, (23:7).
He Lamented the hearts of those offering oaths while omitting obligations, (23:16-22).
He Lamented the hearts of those desiring duty devoid of devotion, (23:23-24).
He Lamented the hearts of those regulating external righteousness but rejecting internal repentance, (23:25-26).
He Lamented the hearts of those marked by an outward morality but not an inward makeover, (23:27-28).
How do we respond to Him Who Lamented?
Oh His matchless mercy! How can we reject such love and saving grace? Today, let us seek His Holy Spirit and ask Him to thoroughly assess and address any Pharisee factors in our own lives. It matters little what we present to the world, for He alone sees our heart. May we never give Him cause to respond to us as Him Who Lamented!
As we consider Him Who Lamented, let us consider our motives and behaviors. When no one is watching…
- …am I authentic?
- …do I practice what I preach?
- …do I hunger for humility?
- …do I desire truth above accolades?
- …is my yes, yes and my no, no?
- …am I passionately devoted or merely performing duties?
- …am I quick to repent?
- …am I more concerned with being conformed to the image of Christ than being admired by others?
Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom, (Psalm 51:6).
For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
You are not pleased with burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise, (Psalm 51:16-17).
Let us pray the hypocrisy within us would break our hearts; and may we willingly and quickly come in repentance to Him Who Lamented, that we would be gathered, embraced and near to Him always.
“How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling,” (23:37)
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit, (Psalm 34:18).