"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You kill the prophets. You kill with rocks those men that God sent to you. Many, many times I wanted to help your people. I wanted to gather your people together like a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But you did not let me. Now your house will be left completely empty. I tell you, you will not see me again until that time when you will say, 'Welcome! God bless the one that comes in the name of the Lord.'"
— Matthew 23:37-39 NLT
Cities have always made a key impact on the heart of God. They are places of crime and evil, but they are also places of people with great need. They are places of power and government and they are places of family and friends. But Jerusalem was special. It was the place of God's dwelling, the Temple. It was the city of sojourn, where Israelites came from all over the world on pilgrimages.
Jerusalem was also the city of rejection when it refused Jesus. Jesus knows this means Jerusalem is headed for destruction. Her people have not just rejected him, they have rejected hope, promise, and future. Jesus will die outside the city of Jerusalem, rejected by every level of religious and civil authority. Jerusalem will claim no other king but Caesar and seal her own fate. It is a time of great sorrow.
The Old Testament rises up and haunts us with its great stories of deliverance for Jerusalem. It reminds us of God's love for the people of a city, even the great cities of Israel's enemies. So we know that Jesus' tears are God's tears for his people, their city, and their future. God longs for the cities to ring with the cry, "Jesus is Lord." But Jerusalem will have none of it. What else can you do but weep?
O Lord, God of the ages, please bless the great cities of our land. May we help take the name of Jesus to the people of these cities so they will not be lost without hope and without you. Give me a heart more like your own for the cities. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Related Scripture Readings
- Jonah 1:1-2; 3:10-4:1, 10-11
- Acts 1:7-8
- Luke 21:20-22
About This Devotional
What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.
What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.