Luke: Lament for Jerusalem

Read: Luke 13:31-35

What breaks your heart? I’m sure you could list a lot of things that move you to a place of serious mourning, especially those of us with children. There’s something special about the parent-child relationship that speaks directly to the heart. In this passage, Jesus laments for Jerusalem, the chosen city. His heart breaks for the people of Jerusalem. Though they were called to be a special people, so many have fallen away that it is no longer the place once hoped for. It’s not the end of the story, but a sad reminder of the reality that sin has tarnished us all.

Jesus is not the least bit dissuaded by the Pharisees’ fake concern for Jesus’ life. Across the translations, Jesus refers to Herod as a fox:

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. Luke 13:32

On the third day…interesting. It seems like Jesus is continuing to teach the Pharisees to read their own scrolls and recall the prophecies as they actually apply to Jesus–right in front of them. Most of them don’t get it.

This passage begins as if it’s another discussion with the Pharisees or about the Roman rule, but it quickly changes into a lament as Jesus ponders not only His fate in the coming days, but those who have gone before.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you… Luke 13:34

As we read the Bible as a whole, we see God’s story unfold, His great desire for His chosen people. The geographical center is still in Israel, Jerusalem in particular. Yet the wickedness of the heart of mankind turns what was designed to be a blessing into a painful reminder. Prophets are killed. Those who proclaim the good news are stoned.

Our limited time on earth is challenging. Lord, give us strength to stand when all around us we have excuses to sit. May we be known as one who comes in the name of the Lord, may we long to hear Your blessings, and may that lead us to action:

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Luke 13:35


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