Matthew 23:34-39; Lament

Jesus address to and about the scribes and Pharisees continues with a look to the near future. That future is already history for the writer and his knowledge of what happened undoubtedly colors his report of Jesus’ words.

In one of the rare places where Jesus talks about acting personally as God himself, Jesus talks about the Christians he will send to Jerusalem to continue to call the leaders to repentance. There will be prophets and sages and scholars sent by the church, but they, too, will be rejected and some persecuted and even killed. The leaders in Jerusalem will continue a long history of rejecting the movement of God. From Abel in Genesis to Zechariah in 2 Chronicles (the last book of Hebrew scripture) they have done it before, and they will do it again.

Judgment is coming on the current generation. In fact, Jerusalem will be destroyed, including the Temple, in just 35 more years. The Temple will not be rebuilt and even the land will not belong to them anymore.

Jesus doesn’t want it to be so. He would have rather protected Jerusalem, but they won’t be protected. Thus, judgment.

Their house, their Temple, will be desolate. Two thousand years later it is still desolate. Or worse than desolate. The loss of the Temple will cause the leaders of Israel, the scribes and the Pharisees, to reinvent Judaism into a templeless religion, which still pertains today.

Jesus will come again. But it will be too late for the leaders.

God’s rejection of the leaders does not extend to the people. Missionary efforts have continued and many Jews have followed Jesus. In the writings of Paul we see a hope for a large moment to Jews to Jesus, but we still are waiting for it. And Jesus is still waiting at the right hand of the Father.

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