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Crossing the Line, part 4
One of the primary justifications the Nazis gave for killing six million Jews in the Holocaust was that "The Jews killed Christ.” That misses the entire point of Jesus' death! That would be like Nazi Germany saying we would never have killed Him if we would have been alive during His time – but still they themselves refuse to make Him their personal Savior today. They were just as guilty of His crucifixion as any of the actual Jews who took part in His death.
If the Pharisees would have said, “Jesus you are right: we did kill the prophets. Forgive us,” everything would have been fine. Jesus would have forgiven them. They would no longer have been considered hypocrites. The same is true for us. Rather than refusing to admit that our sins literally put Jesus on the cross, meaning that we crucified the Messiah, all we need to do is acknowledge it and say, “Jesus, I did crucify you because of my sin. Please forgive me of that. Forgive me of my sins.” Jesus forgives and that cleans the heart and when the inside of the cup is clean the whole outside of the cup is clean. But until a man cleans the heart, all he has is a nice looking exterior while inwardly he is filthy.
It is amazing with what power and authority Jesus reproves the Pharisees. This was the last discourse they ever heard from Him; and it is surprising, considering their wickedness, that they waited even for a mock trial, and did not rise up at once and destroy Him. But the time had not yet come in which He was to lay down His life, for “no man could take it from Him.”
Matthew 23:37 “O 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, but you were not willing.” Once that whole confrontation with the Pharisees was over Jesus turned to His followers and began to open His heart to them. We see the tenderness of His heart here when He says, “How often I have longer to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.”
There is nothing quite like having the whole family home, is there? The neat thing about the holidays is the family gatherings. When my oldest two graduated from high school, most of my family came to Waseca for the graduation open house. Everybody was “home” with us for lunch and an evening meal. What a special feeling to have so many family members together for a meal and re-connecting.
We relate to family gatherings in that way - but “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” God carries that same kind of burden for the whole world. Here is the dilemma He faces – it’s called our free will. Why would God be upset with the Pharisees if they had no choice in what they were doing? If they had no free will, if they had no choice in what they were doing – do you think Jesus would have publicly humiliated them the way He did? Do you think that God creates some people just to make a mockery of them?
Look at the last part of verse 37 again: “…how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” “You were not willing.” God was willing to gather them all in. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that God “does not want anyone to perish, but for everyone to come to repentance.”
Medication: A Merry Heart: Long Live the Cowboy
A tough old cowboy from South Texas counseled his grandson that if he wanted to live a long life, the secret was to sprinkle a pinch of gun powder on his oatmeal every morning.
The grandson did this religiously to the age of 103 when he died.
He left behind 14 children, 30 grandchildren, 45 great-grandchildren, 25 great-great-grandchildren, and a 15-foot crater where the crematorium used to be.
God Bless, Press On!
New Beginnings Church, New Ulm
Verse of the Week: Isaiah 26:3 CSB
Today’s readings: Psalm 134 & 146 - 150