54. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem”
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem”…..JESUS went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.
One said unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said,
Strive to enter in at the narrow gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut the door, and ye being to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us: and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.
But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.
And, behold, there are last which shall be first; and there are first which shall be last.
¶The same day there came Pharisees saying unto Jesus, Depart hence; for Herod will kill thee. And he said unto them,
Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Now it came to pass, as they went, that Jesus entered into a certain village: and a woman named Martha received him into her house. She had a sister, Mary, which sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
But Martha, cumbered about much serving, said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her that she help me.
Martha, Martha, thou are careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
¶The Jews sought again to take Jesus: but he went away beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and he abode there.
Scripture: Luke 13:22-30
Meditation 1 of 3:
What does the image of a door say to us about the kingdom of God? Jesus’ story about the door being shut to those who come too late suggests they had offended their host and deserved to be excluded. It was customary for teachers in Jesus’ time to close the door on tardy students and not allow them back for a whole week in order to teach them a lesson in discipline and faithfulness. Jesus told this story in response to the question of who will make it to heaven. Many rabbis held that all Israel would be saved, except for a few blatant sinners who excluded themselves! After all, they were specially chosen by God when he established a covenant with them. Jesus doesn’t directly answer the question, however; but his response is nonetheless unsettling on two counts. First, Jesus surprised his listeners by saying that one’s membership as a covenanted people does not automatically mean entry into the kingdom of God. Second, Jesus asserts that many from the gentile nations would enter God’s kingdom. God’s invitation is open to Jew and Gentile alike. But Jesus warns that we can be excluded if we do not strive to enter by the narrow door. What did Jesus mean by this expression? The door which Jesus had in mind was himself. I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved (John 10:9). Through the cross Jesus opens the way for us to enter into his kingdom. But we must follow Jesus in the way of the cross. The word strive can also be translated agony. To enter the kingdom of God one must struggle against the forces of temptation and whatever would hinder us from doing the will of God (even apathy, indifference, and compromise). The good news is that we do not struggle alone. God is with us and his grace is sufficient! As we strive side by side for the faith of the gospel (Phil. 1:27) Jesus assures us of complete victory! Do you trust in God’s grace and help, especially in times of testing and temptation?
“Lord, help me to always trust in your saving grace, especially when I am tempted and put to the test. Help me to be faithful to
you and give me the courage and strength to resist temptation, especially temptation to compromise or to be indifferent to your word.”
Scripture: Luke 13:31-35
Meditation 2 of 3:
Do you have adequate security for averting disaster? When some of the Pharisees warned Jesus to flee from the wrath and destruction of king Herod, he, in turn, warned them about spiritual disaster and how to avert it! Like John the Baptist and all the prophets who preceded him, Jesus posed a threat to the ruling authorities of his day. Jesus went so far as to call Herod a “fox”. What did he mean by such an expression? The fox was regarded as the slyest of all animals and the most destructive as well. The fox was also a symbol of a worthless and insignificant individual. It takes great courage to openly oppose a tyrant. Jesus knew that he would suffer the same fate as the prophets who came before him. He not only willingly exposed himself to danger, but he prayed for his persecutors and for those who rejected the prophets whom God had sent. Do you pray for your enemies and for those who oppose the gospel today?
Jesus contrasts his desire for Jerusalem — the holy city and temple of God — with Jerusalem’s lack of desire for him as their long-expected Messiah. Jesus compares his longing for Jerusalem with a mother hen gathering her chicks under her protective wings. Psalm 91 speaks of God’s protection in such terms: He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge (Ps. 91:4). Jesus willingly set his fact toward Jerusalem, knowing that he would meet certain betrayal, rejection, and death on a cross. His death on the cross, however, brought about victory and salvation, not only for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, but for all — both Jew and gentile — who would accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Jesus’ prophecy is a two-edged sword, pointing to his victory and redemption and foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem and the dire consequences for all who would reject him and his saving message. While the destruction of Jerusalem’s temple was determined (it was razed by the Romans in 70 A.D.), there remained for its inhabitants a narrow open door leading to deliverance. Jesus says: I am the door; whoever enters by me will be saved (John 10:9). Is your desire for the heavenly city, Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2)? And is your life securely submitted to the lordship of Jesus Christ?
“Lord Jesus, in you I place all my trust and hope. May I wholly desire you and your will above all else and long for the heavenly city Jerusalem as my true home and refuge. Fill my heart with love and mercy for others that I may boldly witness to the truth and joy of the gospel through word and example, both to those who accept it and to those who oppose it.”
Scripture: Luke 10:38-42
Meditation 3 of 3:
Does the peace of Christ reign in your home and in your personal life? Jesus loved to visit the home of Martha and Mary and enjoyed their warm hospitality. In this brief encounter we see two very different temperaments in Martha and Mary. Martha loved to serve, but in her anxious manner of waiting on Jesus, she caused unrest. Mary, in her simple and trusting manner, waited on Jesus by sitting attentively at his feet. She instinctively knew that what the Master most wanted at that moment was her attentive presence. Anxiety and preoccupation keep us from listening and from giving the Lord our undivided attention. The Lord bids us to give him our concerns and anxieties because he is trustworthy and able to meet any need we have. His grace frees us from needless concerns and preoccupation. Do you seek the Lord attentively? And does the Lord find a welcomed and honored place in your home?
“Lord, to be in your presence is life and joy for me. Free me from needless concerns and preoccupations that I may give you my undivided love and attention.”