Jesus had been dealing with antagonists for three years now on this day it seems a planned attack was under way… Matthew records several confrontations between Jesus and these opponents. The chief priests question His authority to teach the kingdom in the temple. The Pharisees asked if it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar. The Sadducees try to argue logic of the resurrection. Finally, the Scribes try to get Him to pick a single commandment over all the others.
He eventually exited the temple after answering all their questions and posing His own to them. He seems a bit perturbed as you read and then He stops and says, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem the one who killed the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” (Matt 23:37)
There it was. The heart of God when people face suffering. Most of what happened to Jerusalem was brought on by the inhabitants. But the why doesn’t change God’s reaction. Jesus words seem sad. “How often” reminds me that Jesus had been in relationship with this city before He was manifest in a human body. He had watched the seven-hundred-year history of Jerusalem at the center of Israel’s culture. He had seen the number of times the people had walked away from God, brought in idols, fought wars at their gates and as He watched He wanted to rescue the children.
We are once again heartbroken as a war has been instigated. Russia is attacking the Ukraine. The internet has taken us to the front lines for live reports, and once again I am drawn to the effect this will have on the children. And I wonder has Jesus been longing to draw those modern children to Himself for protection. There have been some reports of miraculous things taking place where bombs miss or don’t detonate, equipment fails just when families need it to do so. Keep praying.
Refugees are rushing to the border, women and children are getting out of harm’s way, as husbands and fathers stay behind to fight. Pray for these families. Humans do horrible things, wielding control, and power like a hammer to take what does not belong to them. It’s been this way since sin.
On that day when Jesus was headed out of the temple, he told his disciples that the magnificent buildings around them would be destroyed leaving not one stone on another. About forty-years later the temple was burned and then dismantled. A Roman army that disassembled it to collect the precious metals that flowed into the cracks during the fire.
And He longed to gather the children to protect them. War is here again. Please pray for the Ukrainian people and their children, prayer makes a difference.