By Allen White
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
My son and I have gotten into a show on Animal Planet called Gator Boys. These guys rescue alligators from ponds, pools and other places gators happen to wander in Florida. They bring the gators back to their preserve where the animals live out their days.
The main technique in capturing alligators is to wear the animal out before they attempt to apprehend it. As they “work the gator,’ it grows tired, and eventually they can tape the mouth closed and haul it away in their pickup.
Every time the Gator Boys capture an alligator, one of them will turn up the animals snout and kiss it. My son asks, “Why do they kiss the gators?”
I told him the men were single and lonely. Actually, I didn’t. I told him that the Gator Boys love them some gators. He doesn’t understand why. Neither do I.
Jesus’ words express the heart of God, who never gives up on anyone. Patience may not be the first word that comes to mind here, but that’s exactly what Jesus is saying.
Jesus isn’t saying, “I am so sick of you. How many times have I tried, yet you’ve rejected my word? You’ll get what you deserve.”
No, Jesus reiterates His tender affection for them. Similar to a hen who gathers her helpless chicks, Jesus wants to shelter these religious leaders under His wing of protection.
God sent prophet after prophet to warn and redirect His people. In return for hearing the Good News, they hurt, abused and killed God’s prophets. I’m thinking there weren’t many potential prophets on the waiting list.
God didn’t tire of their disobedience after messenger upon messenger was mistreated and ignored. God sent another, and then another, and finally His Own Son.
Jesus didn’t fear what the religious leaders would do to Him. He knew His mission would involve the same end result that the prophets met. But, what the religious leaders didn’t know is that Jesus would rise from the dead.
When Jesus said, “For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,’” what He’s really saying is “I’ll be baaack” in His best Arnold Swartzenegger impression. If the people wouldn’t believe a living prophet, maybe they would trust a risen Savior.
How long would it have taken us to give up on these people? How patient would we have been? How many prophets would we have sent? When would we have just given up? God is not like us. Thank God.
Maybe there are even areas of your own life where you’ve given up on yourself. After years of struggling, maybe you’ve decided you can’t change. But, that’s not God’s decision for you. God wants you to become more like Him in character – not by working hard, but by allowing the same power that raised Jesus from the dead to live and work inside of you.
The religious leaders in Jesus’ day were among His worst enemies. They lived so close to spiritual things, yet they were so far from God. They were sick with a spiritual disease and were inoculated by religious activities and their version of what it meant to follow God. They were so close to the cure, yet they would only seek it on their terms.
God will wait for people to run out of steam, out of ideas, and out of options, hoping that road will lead them back to Him. Jesus said if we were tired or heavy burdened, we could come to Him for rest. Jesus won’t give us an “I told you so.”
He knows He’s right. Jesus loves us and wants us to fully surrender ourselves to Him. Aren’t you tired of wearing yourself out? God loves you, and you’re much better looking than a gator.
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