Saturday, March 06, 2010

Lament for Jerusalem

Luke 13:34-35
(34)  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 would not!
(35)  Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'"

(34)  Ἰερουσαλὴμ Ἰερουσαλήμ, ἡ ἀποκτείνουσα τοὺς προφήτας καὶ λιθοβολοῦσα τοὺς ἀπεσταλμένους πρὸς αὐτήν, ποσάκις ἠθέλησα ἐπισυνάξαι τὰ τέκνα σου ὃν τρόπον ὄρνις τὴν ἑαυτῆς νοσσιὰν ὑπὸ τὰς πτέρυγας, καὶ οὐκ ἠθελήσατε. 
(35)  ἰδοὺ ἀφίεται ὑμῖν ὁ οἶκος ὑμῶν. λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν, οὐ μὴ ἴδητέ με ἕως ἥξει ὅτε εἴπητε, Εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι κυρίου.

I know someone who takes this passage and its parallel in Matthew as a defense against Calvinism.  If Jesus says that He would have gathered them together but they resisted, then how can we speak of irresistible grace?  Where is God's sovereignty in election?  

First of all, I think that Jesus is using Jersualem as a metaphor for Israel.  I get this from His use of  τὰ τέκνα σου.  It seems to me that "your children" refers to all the Jews.  If you've read the Old Testament you've seen that the Jews made it a habit to resist God.  Of course, everyone does this.  

No one denies that Israel was God's chosen people.  However, it is clear from the Old Testament that they broke their covenant with God and had to face the consequences of it.  This was predicted back in Moses' farewell speech in Deuteronomy.

Does this mean that the people were free to do whatever they wanted?  They were free to live according to their nature, which is inherently sinful.  I would read this passage along with 2 Peter 3:9.  God wants for all men to be saved, but clearly all men are not saved.  Does this make God impotent to save?

By no means!  Rather than reinventing the wheel, I would point you to this excellent essay by John Piper.  I would love to interact with anyone in the comments, but not before you read that essay. 

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