“How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings…”
Paul prayed for the Ephesian Christians that they would comprehend the love of God which he described as beyond our ability to understand.
That you “may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height, to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge…” Ephesians 3:19
His love is beyond comprehension, partly because there is no other love like it. We get a glimpse of His love by the way a mother cares for her infant son, or the way a groom looks at his bride, or the way a grandparent dotes over her grandchildren. But those are only glimpses, because His love passes knowledge. It will take us all eternity to delve into the great chasms of His love.
This love is expressed in the statement Jesus makes as He looks out over the city of Jerusalem. He says His desire is to gather them unto Himself, as a hen gathers her chicks. He wants to care for them, instruct them, and protect them from the natural consequences of living apart from Him. That alone is a wonderful expression of His love; but this statement does not stand alone. Chapter 23 describes some of the people He wants to gather to Himself. He wants the hypocrite, who loves the attention of being a godly man, while his example is actually keeping others from Christ. He wants the blind guide, who thinks he has heaven and earth all figured out, while rejecting and ignoring the Word of God. He wants the one who uses religion as a way to get things from others. He wants the one who will practice a few select religious observations, while neglecting to love God and others. He wants those who clean the outside of the cup, so others will think they are godly, but their lives are filled with hidden sin. And most importantly, HE WANTS YOU!
Don’t let your failures keep you from Him. He loves you and wants to gather you to Himself, and transform your life. Will you let Him? Take some time right now to offer yourself to Him, as if you were a living sacrifice.
Questions for chapter 23
- What modern saying do you know that sounds a lot like verse 3?
- Sum up the way the Pharisees are described in verses 3-7
- In contrast, how are we to behave, verse 11?
- According to verse 12, what should motivate us to humility?
- Jesus described the behavior of the Pharisees in verse 24, what do you think He meant?
- Hypocrisy is not behaving one way when you feel another; Hypocrisy is behaving ungodly while claiming to be a follower of God. The Pharisees were the group that Jesus was most upset with, because of their hypocrisy. Are there areas in your life that this addresses?
- Why was Jesus so upset over Jerusalem?