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!
Ref: Luke 13:34; Zechariah 2 Chronicles 24:20; Matthew 23:35; Luke 11:51
While the Lord says that he has sent prophet after prophet to lead Israel to repentance time and time again they would not listen and continued in their idolatries. Jesus has someone specific in mind when he is talking about the prophets they killed. He has a bold example of the killing of a prophet the exemplifies his meaning. Both Matthew 23 and Luke 11 elaborate on this prophet. His death is quickly mentioned in 2 Chronicles, almost as an incidental circumstance that many Jews dismissed as a part of their checkered past. The death of this prophet would seem to be insignificant in Gods plans, however, we see that God did not forget him. Jesus is giving testimony of what King David wrote, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” (Psalm 116:15). If not a sparrow falls to the ground without the Almighty God knowing, and the blood of the righteous cry out to God day and night, surely the death of his loved ones echoes through his heart at all times. Here in Luke 13 Jesus tells us that, not only does he remember, but this very generation will be held accountable for the blood, of all the saints, including this one unremembered prophet.
This generation thought of themselves as more enlightened than their predecessors. They told themselves that they were better then their forefathers, that they would not have killed the prophets of old if they were sent to them. They are far superior in understanding and more fearful of God then their generations before them. But Jesus says, no.. I have sent you prophets, and you have killed them also. One such prophet that we know of is John the Baptist who was beheaded. Jesus also knew that they would soon kill him. Not only that Jesus knew that they would also kill those who follow after him, in his name. Here Matthew’s version of this event:
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (Matthew 23:29-37).
The prophet Zacharias was slain in 2 Chronicles 24:20 because the princes of Judah pleaded with the king to allow them to let them worship other Gods. The king consented and this led them to trespass against God and to violate their covenant relationship with God. The LORD in his mercy sent them prophets to warn them of their trespass and to have them repent and return to him. But they rejected the words of the LORD sent by his prophets. Then the scripture says, “Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them. And they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers, and served groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass. Yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the LORD; and they testified against them: but they would not give ear. And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the LORD, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the LORD, he hath also forsaken you. And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of the LORD. Thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but slew his son. And when he died, he said, The LORD look upon it, and require it.” (2 Chronicles 24:17-22).
Just six short verses and the fate of the nation was sealed, by their own actions, not Gods. But did you catch the last verse? It says, “The LORD look upon it, and require it”. For those who do not understand plain English, it says that the Lord saw this and held them accountable for the death of his servant Zechariah. Now here in the New Testament passages we read we see that God has not forgotten the death of Zechariah. We find a truth about God that many want to ignore. God does remember. God does hold us accountable.
We all love to hear about the love of God, but many want to ignore the part where God requires that all sin be accounted for. The distorted Gospel of Love and Prosperity has mislead millions into a watered down Christianity. Many Christians in western society do not even see the need for Christ to be involved in their salvation. They believe that God forgives all and that they can do as they please with no fear of death or judgement. They do not understand that it is the love of God that sent his son, Jesus (Emmanuel – God with us), to come and to sacrifice his life so that we might have eternal life. Might is the operative work that Jesus himself uses, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:17). That is that salvation is made possible though Jesus Christ, but it is ONLY through him that a man can be saved. (Acts 4:12) Faith in Jesus as the Son of God, and the Lamb of God, who came to sacrifice himself for us, is the only way, by trusting in this grace of God, can a man be saved. It is FAITH in Jesus.
Unfortunately, many in this world have been so lied to that they don’t even know what they are being saved from of why it is necessary. They think that just saying they believe in Jesus and getting baptized has saved them. But this in not according to scripture, they have believed a half-truth. They do not know that salvation comes by true repentance, and faith. This real repentance and faith in who God is, what his wrath is, and the mercy he has shown in Jesus Christ requires a change in our hearts and in our lives. They do not understand the scriptures that say we have not been delivered from sin, so that we might sin more. That is because the church of the west has failed to keep its own doctrines. We are not so different from the Jews of their time who say that they would not have killed the prophets yet could not see that they are just as guilty. So, we say, if we were alive when Jesus was here, we would have believed, and changed, and would not have killed him. We would have listened to God. Yet here we sit with all out 20/20 hindsight, and yet we still act as if Jesus does not really exist, and we don’t listen to God, and remain in our sin.
The western church sees confession of Jesus as a means to bind God into their selfish desires. They wish to remain in their sins, to enjoy the freedom of sinning as they please and require that God just accept them as they are. If he is loving, then he must accept them and their sin. Surely, he wants them to be happy. In addition, since they sometimes show up at church, God is expected to bless them for giving the time of day. They recite promises of God and expect that he his honor bound to keep them, even though they have not met the scriptural basis for the promised blessing. In truth, they have not even read, much less studied to see the conditions of the promise. Yet every man that walks today is an authority on God.
By way of example, did you listen to what Zechariah told the princes of Judah? “Why transgress ye the commandments of the LORD, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the LORD, he hath also forsaken you.” (2 Chronicles 24:20) There it is plain as day. The blessings of the LORD come from obedience to the will of God. God is not a god among many gods. Jesus is not a way among many ways to God. The Word of God is not a truth among many truths. God says I am the LORD thy God, there is no other salvation. (Isaiah 43:5; 45:5) Thou shalt have no other Gods. (Hosea 13:4; Exodus 20:2-3) Thou should not make unto the any graven image, or any likeness… not bow down to them. (Exodus 20:4-5)
This is the same thing that every prophet has ever said, this is what Zechariah said, and this is what Jesus said. God is merciful and loving. He reaches out in love to be your God. He rewards those who love him with his loving kindness, his presence, and all the benefits of him being their God. Their only God. Those who love him and keep his commandments. Those who say they love him and demonstrate their love for him, he will be their God. Those who do not keep his commandment, obviously do not love him. The LORD does not want lip service. He does not want divided loyalties. Those who do not follow his commandments with their heart, he will visit their iniquity upon them and their descendants. That is serious stuff.
Now in this passage, Jesus is talking to the children of Israel. He says, “O Jerusalem”. Jesus is in mourning over the judgement that they have continuously brought upon themselves. God did not want to pronounce judgement, he desired to protect them from their enemies, and most of all from themselves. We who have children can certainly understand this dilemma. Sometimes, you must make the call you dread the most. Sometimes the only way to teach a child is with tough love. So if God would not spare the judgement of his own chosen people, the ones he called his first son, then what keeps him from judging his adopted children, or even more so, those who have rejected him? You see the same commandments he gave to Israel are what he gave to us. That we should love the LORD and love one another.
- Mark 12:29-31 – And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
- John 13:34 – A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
- John 14:15 – If ye love me, keep my commandments.
You see the things of this world are perishing. People’s opinions are never important. Money never lasts. Values are lost or waisted on things that are destroyed by rust, or moths, or eventually buried in dust. “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (1 John 2:17) This is not an Old Testament scripture. It is important to see that the will of the LORD must be adhered to in order to be saved. You see, in order to know the will of the LORD, you must first acknowledge that God does exist. Then you have to know that he let us know what his will is. That means that you have to accept the bible as the Word of God. In it contains the plan of salvation from cover to cover. This plan points indirectly and directly to Jesus Christ as the way the LORD desires that men should be saved. It is his WILL than all should be saved. But they must come to him though his son, Jesus Christ. Jesus says if you love me… This means that you have to believe on him, that he first loved you, and that he gave his life for you. You must believe that he is God and there for LORD. If he is LORD then you are his servant. Servants love their LORD and are obedient. Servant can only serve one LORD. Jesus says, If you love me… keep my commandments. Love the LORD your God with everything in you and love one another has he, the LORD, loves us. How much does he love us? He loves us enough that he died for us, in our place. How much should we love God? How much should we love one another? We can put aside of selfishness and piety now. We can just rest in our love and trust of Jesus and love one another because the LORD loves us.