“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” Matthew 23: 37-39
Jesus spoke those very words right after He told His disciples and the crowd about seven woes that would come upon the religious leaders of His day. He told them that they did not practice what they preached and that everything they did was done solely for men to see and not for pure and righteous reasons. Jesus also told them that in truth He was their ONLY real teacher and leader and they should not be following human church leaders in the first place.
I love that passage of the bible and I feel that in Matthew chapter 23 Jesus is rebuking not only the religion of His day, but also religion, traditions, and certain church practices for all times. Jerusalem was and still is the religion capital of the world. So in effect “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem” means O Religion, Religion; and let’s face it Religion has been and still is figuratively killing prophets and stoning those that get in the way of its life sucking agenda. When I say religion I mean any man made system that strives to define and regulate God and those who would follow God. In short Religion kills and brings bondage to simple faith, but relationship gives life, love and faith.
Jesus speaks out against religion and religious leaders numerous times in the bible, but not without reaching out to those enslaved and trapped within its visible and invisible walls. Even in this passage Jesus says how He “longed” to gather those in religion and take care of them. Jesus always reaches out with His truth in love, but in this case they were “not willing.” So they reject Him. I wonder how many times Jesus is rejected on the basis of religion and tradition on any given day? He tells those in religion you have your house, you have your BUILDING, but it is “desolate”, and void of any real life.
However, this passage ends with a ray of hope. Jesus says that they can see Him again if they would only say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” To me this rings of inclusion as in blessed is ANYONE sent to you who comes in the name of the Lord. Far too often we are focused on who, the Leader, the “man” up front is; while ignoring the many sisters and brothers in Jesus who surround us in everyday life. I welcome anyone who comes to me in the name of Jesus and I never factor out those without title or position. In fact I trust those without title or position even more than I do the “professionals”. I don’t need a Pastor, Pharisee, Teacher of the law or recognized leader to come to me.
I realize that the last paragraph may be reaching a bit, but that is the way that verse struck me today. As always no one is required to agree with me. I am just sharing my portion. So anyone that is out there reading this: either encourage or rebuke the snot out of me? I am just a brother who wants to grow in Him and help others along the way.
Kirk Out !