Lament over Jerusalem
31 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32 And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. 33 Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.’ 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 were not willing! 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!’”
Observations & Reflections
In recent days we saw Jesus compare Israel to a fig tree that would not produce fruit, and would be given one last chance. Now in Luke 13:31-35 it would appear that Jesus is now fed up completely with Israel. This is yet another passage where one would gather the idea that God’s chosen people were replaced and forsaken. It would appear at first glance that Jesus is telling the Pharisees that God has forsaken them.
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!’
Typically when someone’s house is referenced in ancient literature, like Jesus just did, it’s referring to the lineage of a people group. This is seen with the House of Jacob and the House of David. Therefore, Jesus saying “your house” definitely can refer to the Jews. But is He saying that God has forsaken their house or that they have forsaken their own house?
The word Jesus used for “forsake” was “ἀφίεται” which is usually translated as abandoned or left behind. This seems to fit the earlier parable with the fig tree. As Jesus nears Jerusalem and the temple He is making it clear that God is removing His glory from His people and that Jesus will one day return. When He does, the people of God will know that He was the messiah. But for now, Jesus knows He must be put to death in Jerusalem.
As we consider the fate of the fit tree in this section of Luke we should be asking ourselves whether or not we would have also been part of that barren tree or perhaps we are now? Are we producing fruit?
[Featured image taken May 26, 2012, of the Western Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, by Daniel Majewski]