|Jesus weeps over Jerusalem - James Tissot|
TO CHEW ON: “But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity.’....O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!” Luke 13: 27,34
“He is not safe, but he is good.” I'm thinking this description of the lion Aslan from C. S.Lewis’s The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe might be a caption for today’s reading.
The Jewish leaders thought they had God all figured out. In their theology, His favor was on the Jews. The very fact that someone was born one, and especially if that one tried to keep the law, guaranteed them a ticket to paradise with God.
In our reading today Jesus' teaching puts the boot to that notion. His illustrations of the narrow gate and broad gate and entry through only the narrow, His stories of people coming to the Master of the house claiming familiarity only to be turned away from the door by, “I do not know you,” would breathe a chill into any heart. But simple knowledge of Him as a person when He was on earth, or about Him and His teachings now, was not and is not enough to secure us a place with Him in heaven. Here He seems dangerous – someone who will act in a way they (and perhaps some of us) would never expect.
A few verses later, though, we see Him weeping over Jerusalem, longing to protect her people like a hen protects her chicks. His goodness is shown in His tender love for even those who reject Him.
What a cameo of God – on one hand finding it necessary to exclude people from heaven because they refuse to come His way, on the other weeping over those same people.
So what is God’s way of coming? It is through Jesus (John 14:6). We must admit our sinfulness and inability to be acceptable to God on our own. (Isaiah 53:6; Isaiah 64:6). We need to realize that Jesus paid the penalty for our sin (Romans 5:8). When we accept and believe this about ourselves (John 3:16,17) and come to Him His way, we will never need to fear hearing those dreaded words – “I do not know you.”
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for making a way back to God for me. Help me to not only come to You for salvation, but to live my life on earth by the principles of Your kingdom. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.