Jerusalem is often referred to as the City of Peace, and so it will be ultimately, but not whilst it is under human control. Except for the time of Solomon, it has usually been the opposite! David wrote a marvellous Psalm “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May they be secure who love you! Peace be within your walls …” (Psalm 122:6,7). A time is coming when it will be “the joy of the whole earth” (Psalm 48:2).
We read today of the lamentation of Jesus over the city; “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37). The same can be said now, in a sense, of the whole world!
Beginning at Jerusalem after our Lord ascended to heaven how few were willing, especially as the generations passed. Jesus’ appeal was to those “with ears to hear” (Matthew 11:15). In the early days many came to realize what value there was in such hearing for their future! But today nearly everything around us is for what human godless hearts want to hear and be entertained with.
How significant it is that no less than seven times in today’s chapter Jesus said, “Woe to you …” (see verses 13,15,16,23,25,27,29). This was said to the religious leaders, calling them “blind guides” (verse 16). After uttering the seven woes Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation” (verse 36). And so it did – the Temple and the City were destroyed because of their spiritual blindness in rejecting their Messiah.
What of today! What events await this world for its rejection of God! What will God do to our world – events parallel to His destruction of Jerusalem. There are some awesome Old Testament prophecies, for example, Isaiah 26:21, “For behold, the LORD is coming out from his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it, and will no more cover its slain”. And look at the previous verse! Then note the appeal at the end of today’s Psalm 38, “O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!”
The final words of Jesus “before he left the Temple” is where our chapter ends. “You will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’”. May we all be there to say that – and it could happen very soon!