“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem– the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s Messengers! How often I wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.”
“And now, look, your house is abandoned and desolate. For I tell you this, you will never see Me again until you say ‘Blessings on the One Who comes in the Name of the Lord.” Matthew 23:37-39 NLT
With this cry of anguish, Jesus finished a long, sharp, and heated rebuke of the religious leaders and Pharisees who had done their best to destroy Him and failed. The rich imagery of the mother bird, gathering her chicks under her wings for warmth and love and protection shows clearly that God wanted only the best for His people; the twice-occurring destruction of Jerusalem and the resulting dispersion of the Jews was God’s reluctant justice in the face of their repeated rejections of Him, in spite of numerous warnings.
For thousands of years, God’s love toward Israel remained constant. It was not caused by Israel in any way, yet He demonstrated His love for them repeatedly. But they persistently disobeyed Him, showing murderous hatred towards the prophets He sent to plead with them and warn them. And in the end, they suffered the just consequences for their rebellion.
John 3:16 tells us that “God so loved the world.” His Love is still constant, still immeasurably deep, and still undeserved. His Love becomes active in those who will believe Him and receive Him; no one can describe fully the wonderful eternity these people will experience. But the warning remains; those who still refuse Him, will perish.