In 1997, I sat on the Mount of Olives reading through the passage in Matthew 23:37 and juxtaposing it with the scene in Matthew 21:1-11 when Jesus rides into town on a colt. I was a college sophomore on an exchange program for a semester in Israel, nearly two years in Christ and witnessing daily to Jews that saw no need for a Messiah. I was disgusted by the immorality and unbelief on display among my peers at Ben Gurion University, yet fascinated that the God of the Scriptures longed for the redemption of the children of Jacob. “The way a hen gathers her chicks under her wing” is how God wanted to care for those that were lost in Jacob’s line. The heart of the Lord has always been to restore the broken, defend His own, and challenge them to live by faith.
Mere days before this account in Matthew 23, Jesus was riding down this same mount (think south Queen Anne going toward downtown) with crowds welcoming Him with Messianic declarations (Isaiah 62:11 & Zechariah 9:9). The Lord knows the heart- it is always revealed in time! The Jews saw from the Scripture a Messiah that was a mighty deliverer. “Save Now!” is another was of translating the declaration Hosanna. Many wanted a quick fix to a Roman problem. Jesus saw that the path for deliverance was not going to be accomplished through a revolution with weapons of flesh and blood but rather a revolution of the heart. Only the cross with all its humiliation could set captives free.
Are you one of the “chicks” in Matthew 23 that wanted a deliverer to simply change what you see as wrong with the world? Or are you a “chick” that knows the voice of the Father and can realize that to break the bondage of soul requires this Messiah to come in as King and restore what is broken. On this Palm Sunday, choose to welcome the King as he would want to be welcomed; invite Him in as your Lord and Master…and break out in a shout of Hosanna for the sake of your now liberated soul! In time Rome would fall, but the stubbornness of a rebellious heart is a greater foe than the many garrisons under Caesar’s command. Let Him reign on the inside.
- Kaj Martin
Pastor at Seattle Foursquare Church