Woe to the Pharisees, pt. 4: Rejecters of God

Posted: February 18, 2013 in Matthew

Matthew 23:29-39, “Woe to the Pharisees, pt. 4: Rejecters of God”

Every parent has said it before: “I’ll give you one last chance to do it, before I ____.”  No doubt that is something that God put in the heart of every parent, as it is in His heart as well.  God is so gracious in His mercy, extending opportunity after opportunity for people to repent.  Yet just like any parent needs to eventually draw the line, so does God.  Eventually the moment comes when the last chance comes & goes, and His discipline has to go forth.

In essence, what we’ve been looking at in Matthew 23 has been the last chance for the Jews – specifically the scribes and Pharisees of Jerusalem.  For three years, Jesus has ministered among them, telling them about the kingdom of God, showing them their sin & need for repentance, giving them all the evidence that was needed to prove that He is the God-given Messiah-King, and the Pharisees had rejected Him at every turn.  Now He is days (hours) away from the cross.  There is literally no time left for the Jews prior to them turning upon Him, and rejecting the Son of God in a murderous rage – and Jesus is giving them one final opportunity to humble themselves now in repentance before God.  Sadly (like many children), they would not take it.

Review…  Jesus had been initially well-received in Jerusalem on Sunday, and the Jewish leadership had been trying to discredit Him ever since.  Finally, Jesus tests them in such a way which shuts their mouths simply because they are unable to respond to Him, and He turns the tables.  First, He proclaimed their hypocrisy to all of the people, warning them about the inflated egos of those who taught them, and then started to proclaim a series of woes upon the scribes & Pharisees.  Woe #1: they were obstacles to God.  Woe #2: they were condemned for their destruction and deception.  Woe #3: the people they converted were condemned.  Woe #4: they were blind to God’s holiness.  Woe #5: they replaced the important with the trivial.  Woe #6: they were inwardly corrupt.  Woe #7: they were inwardly dead.

In all of this, the scribes and the Pharisees had been hypocrites.  They had put on one face to the people & outside world, pretending to be holy & reverent men of God – when in reality they were deceptive.  They lived by one set of rules for themselves and put up legalism for everyone else, not helping them bear the load, causing them to further distance themselves from God rather than draw near to Him.  They were abusive false teachers, and Jesus made their condemnation abundantly clear.

As Ch. 23 comes to a close, Jesus proclaims on them the final woe: they were murderers and rejecters of God.  The ones who had been the recipients of the covenant of the Author of Life had always rejected the people that spoke of this life…just as they were now rejecting Jesus.

Matthew 23:29–39
29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’

  1. Outwardly, the scribes and Pharisees seemed to honor the prophets.  They would have seemed to hold them in high regard, memorializing the work the prophets did for the Lord, while lamenting how the prophets were rejected by past people.  The Jews built ornate monuments supposedly honoring those who had come in the name of God or had otherwise lived lives that were glorifying to God.  They took pride in their heritage, and considered themselves in the line of the righteous (rather than in the lineage of those who killed the righteous).  Historically speaking, there is actually a series of tombs at the base of the Mount of Olives which supposedly holds the remains of prophets such as Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. [PIC] Interestingly enough, the construction dates to the time of Jesus.  Quite possibly, the Jewish authorities were engaged in some of the building and decoration of it at the very time that Jesus addressed them.  (Vincent) “Possibly they were in sight of our Lord when he spoke, and were pointed to by him. The reference would be all the more telling, if, as has been conjectured, the Pharisees were engaged in constructing the tombs of Zechariah and Absalom at the time that the Lord addressed them…”
  2. Not only did they honor the prophets with monuments, they were audacious enough to claim that they would have done differently than their fathers.  They thought they would not have made the same mistakes as those who came before.  “Everyone else may have killed the prophets, but we would have stood with them!”  Bold sentiment, but completely false. In truth, they were making a bigger mistake than their forefathers could have even dreamt about.  Talk about hypocritical – the very people who said they would not have shed the blood of the prophets were the ones planning to shed the blood of the Messiah!
  3. As a people the Jews had consistently rejected the prophets.  The Hebrews regularly grumbled against Moses (so much so that Moses asked God to kill him so that he wouldn’t have to hear it anymore! Num 11:15).  Jezebel attempted to exterminate all of the prophets of the northern kingdom, and only 100 survived due to the efforts of one man (1 Kings 18:13).  Elijah was himself persecuted by Jezebel (1 Kings 19).  Jeremiah was routinely jailed – even John the Baptist was martyred.  The list could go on & on.  The author of Hebrews describes the experiences of the prophets: Hebrews 11:36–38, "(36) Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. (37) They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— (38) of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth."  []  To be a prophet in Israel was a dangerous calling!  It was far more common to be rejected by the people than to be received by them.  And to make matters worse, the vast majority of Hebrew prophets were sent to Hebrews.  It’s not as if the Gentile nations around them were the ones who were the primary tormentors; it was the nations of Judah and Israel themselves.  The supposed people of God were the ones who rejected the prophets of God.  That had always been the case.  For the scribes and Pharisees to claim that they honored the prophets was just willfully blind.
  4. Obviously, Jesus was specifically speaking to the Jews of His day – but be careful not to ignore what He says to them.  We can be guilty of similar arrogance.  We might say, “I’d never deny Jesus like Peter…  I would have never have listened to Satan in the Garden of Eden…  I’d never make the same mistakes…”  Be careful!  Beware that you do not become arrogant and naïve!  We struggle with the same nature of sin as every single human who has ever gone before us.  We fight the same temptations…  Even the apostle Paul understood his own propensity to sin…  Take heed lest you fall!

31 “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt.

  1. Jesus calls them out on their hypocrisy.  They knew their heritage and they ought to have known they were doing the same thing.
  2. Vs. 32 might be confusing at first glance – especially from the perspective that the Jews of Jesus’ day might be blamed for something that they did not personally do.  In fact, God had specifically told Moses that children would not bear the guilt of their fathers’ sins (Deut 24:16, “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their fathers; a person shall be put to death for his own sin.”).  So what exactly is going on here?  “Fill up” (πληρόω) does indeed mean “to fill,” but it carries the idea of completion.  It’s to fill up to the full.  Jesus is not saying that the sons who are innocent would bear the guilt of the sins of their fathers for things that that the sons never did.  He is saying that they are (or will be) completing the sins begun by their fathers – and the sons were not innocent, in any case.  Their ancestors had murdered the prophets; they would murder the One who sent the prophets.  The sons were guilty of a much worse crime: plotting the death of the Son of God.

33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?

  1. This is the part where it really seems like Jesus is out of character.  After all, we don’t often see Jesus start calling people names.  Where is the meek & mild teacher of good morals from Galilee? J  This is still the wonderful loving teacher, but in all of His meekness Jesus never stopped being God.  God the Son carries all of the authority of God (because He is God), and if He needs to act in His authority to get His point across then He will do exactly that.
    1. We sometimes have a tendency of dividing up God into having multiple personalities.  As if the “God of the OT” is full of wrath, fire & brimstone, whereas Jesus (the “God of the NT”) is gentle, loving, and inviting.  The truth is that there is One God over all of the pages of the Bible, and He never changes.  With as much judgment and holy anger there is shown by God because of sin in the OT, we also see so much that is loving, gracious, and inviting.  How else would God have saved His people from slavery and death in Egypt?  How else would God have provided for His people in the wilderness?  How else would He have given them the promise of a Savior?  And the same is true of the NT.  Jesus is certainly loving and gracious, but He is also full of the holy righteousness of God, and is shown acting in the fullness of His wrath in the pages of Revelation.  Why?  Because God is God & God never changes.  So yes – Jesus speaks out in His holy anger here to the Pharisees, and this should not surprise us.  After all, He is speaking to them as God.
  2. That Jesus calls them “serpents” is a particularly cutting condemnation.  Who else had been an evil serpent?  Satan.  The Pharisees considered themselves children of God, when in reality they showed themselves to be children of the devil (Jn 8:44).  Satan was a liar and a murderer, and so were the scribes and the Pharisees.  Jesus had already condemned them for their lies (vs. 14); now He condemns them for their murders.  And it wasn’t merely this generation of Jewish leadership.  They were not serpents merely on their own.  They were following in the footsteps of their fathers, they were children of serpents (“brood of vipers”)  This is something that the Jews had always done, and the judgment of God was about to fall.
  3. Because they followed in the example of Satan, they would share the same destination of Satan…hell.  Jesus is not using the word as a type of philosophical anguish – He’s not talking about temporary physical pain on earth…Jesus is clearly speaking of a real place – the same real place that He had referred to over & over again in His teachings.  This is “Gehenna” – the place where the worm never dies and the fire is never quenched.  This is the place of outer darkness & weeping & gnashing of teeth.  Jesus could not be more clear when He tells the scribes and Pharisees that they face the very real condemnation of the wrath of God in hell. (Which makes it all the more astounding that some people would claim that no one ever goes to hell!)  Jesus’ question to them was not a wonder as to IF the scribes and Pharisees would escape that condemnation, but rather, how escape could even be possible at all.  At this point, it is assumed that the scribes and Pharisees are bound for hell, because their crimes were so heinous and their hearts were so hardened.
  4. Question: was it be possible for them to escape that condemnation, and if so, how?  The same way it would be possible for any of us…by repenting from sin and placing faith in Jesus as God. …

34 Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, 35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.

  1. Notice that Jesus’ action is no longer talking about the Pharisees’ forefathers.  The scribes and Pharisees claimed that they would not murder the prophets, but Jesus tells them straight out that they will, in fact, do exactly the same thing.  God had previously sent prophets who were killed, and Jesus plainly prophesies that this current generation of Jews would do likewise.  “I send” = present tense.  Jesus is not here referring to prophets of the past, but to the people He would now send and would continue to send: the apostles and other disciples of the Lord.  Were they persecuted?  No doubt!  The entire book of Acts is testimony to the fulfillment of Jesus’ words here.  The Jews were nothing but persistent in their rejection of the Church.  They sent off men like Saul to persecute Christians from city to city.  They maintained their opposition to Paul by testifying against him to the Romans.  They stoned witnesses like Stephen when given the opportunity.  Gentiles would certainly be guilty of their own persecution of God’s people, but Jesus was not speaking of the Gentiles here.  This was a specific condemnation of the Jews.  Prophets and wise men would not only be stoned in the streets & meeting halls, but in “synagogues” and other Jewish places.
    1. Jews reject Jesus because they are blind to the gospel (Rom 11).  Their eyes have been darkened, and they cannot see Jesus.  God uses this time of blindness to take the gospel of salvation to the rest of the world, but He will not always let the Jews remain blind.  He will be gracious and call them to salvation, in order that all His promises may be fulfilled.
  2. Question: had these particular Jews been guilty of all the past murders?  No, but they showed themselves to be of the same stripe as those who did.  Jesus seems to be transitioning from speaking only of the specific Pharisees in front of Him to the Jewish nation as a whole…which went all the way back to the earliest days of human history.  By referencing Abel – Zechariah, Jesus is basically referencing the A-Z of Biblical prophets (though not according to Hebrew alphabet).  It’s the first to the last.  Abel was the first martyr listed in Scripture; Zechariah was the last, according to how the Hebrew OT canon was generally arranged.  Actually, there is a bit of question with some of this.  The reference of Abel is clear.  His was the first murder in all of Scripture, killed by his brother because God had been pleased with Abel’s sacrifice and worship, but not Cain’s (Gen 4:3-8).  Abel was a righteous man, proven by his sacrifice of faith (Heb 11:4), and his was the first of righteous blood shed on the earth.  It continued through the entire course of Jewish history.  The question comes up with which Zechariah to which Jesus refers.  The book of Zechariah was indeed written by a prophet whose father was Berekiah, but we have no indication how he died, much less if he had been murdered in such a dramatic fashion.  However, there is a Zechariah who fits Jesus’ description entirely, and his death would have come at the very end of the Scripture, in the way that the Hebrew canon was arranged. 2 Chronicles 24:20–22, "(20) Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, who stood above the people, and said to them, “Thus says God: ‘Why do you transgress the commandments of the LORD, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD, He also has forsaken you.’ ” (21) So they conspired against him, and at the command of the king they stoned him with stones in the court of the house of the LORD. (22) Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but killed his son; and as he died, he said, “The LORD look on it, and repay!”" []  The problem here is the different father that is listed.  There have been several potential explanations – the most likely being that Jehoiada was Zechariah’s grandfather, with an unnamed father of Berekiah that was known by Jesus.  It was common in genealogies to skip generations & Jehoiada the priest was known to be very old (130 years) when he died just prior to Zechariah’s murder (2 Chr 24:15), certainly fitting the age of a grandfather or great-grandfather.
  3. The point?  The Jews had always done this, and they would continue to act this way.  Thus they were truly deserving of God’s vengeance for the previous murders.  See vs. 36…

36 Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

  1. Very specific prophecy! This judgment was to come upon this generation.  And that is exactly what would happen in 70 AD.  The Jewish historian Josephus recorded the horror that was the destruction of the temple when the Romans finally unleashed their military fury upon Jerusalem: “Yet was the misery itself more terrible than this disorder; for one would have thought that the hill itself, on which the temple stood, was seething hot, as full of fire on every part of it, that the blood was larger in quantity than the fire, and those that were slain more in number than those that slew them; for the ground did nowhere appear visible, for the dead bodies that lay on it; but the soldiers went over heaps of these bodies, as they ran upon such as fled from them.”  IOW – this wasn’t a mere slap-on-the-wrist; this was terror incarnate.  The horror of that time was plainly (and historically) used by God as punishment for the death of the prophets and rejection of all of the people that God had sent to Jerusalem to help them repent.  And it happened less than 40 years after Jesus uttered these words to the scribes and Pharisees.  Truly all the things He mentioned DID come upon that generation.
  2. Prophecy is always specific to God’s intent.  When God says something, we can take Him at His word.  It’s not something to be written off or spiritualized away somehow; it’s something to look at in truth.  To be sure, some things may be difficult to understand at the time, but God always shows His word to be true to the letter.  It’s interesting to look at fulfilled prophecies in the Scripture.  At the time the prophecy was given, it may have seemed somewhat obscure to the hearer, but looking at the fulfillment of it, the word turns out to be precisely true.  That’s the way God has always worked in the past through prophecy – and we can be sure that God continues to work that way today.  There are several prophetic events we look forward to today, and though some might seem to be somewhat mysterious, we can be sure that Jesus will prove it true to the letter!

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!

  1. This wasn’t the first time Jesus said this.  Luke records these same words at the end of his 13th chapter (13:34-35).  Actually, the whole series of woes were also recorded by Luke at an earlier time (Lk 11:37-52), which goes to underscore how set they were in their ways.  Even when publicly confronted earlier by Jesus, they never changed their ways!  In this final statement regarding Jerusalem, it’s not really any wonder why Jesus would have said this twice (if not other times in addition to this, as well).  Although Matthew does not record too many visits to Jerusalem, John makes it plain that Jesus visited the city numerous times, and no doubt the Lord often lamented over the city.  Again, that so much time separates Matthew’s recording from Luke’s only highlights the fact that the people didn’t change.  Yes, the affections of the people seemed to change at the triumphal entry, but it was only temporary.  They cheered Him over the course of a few days, but they would also soon be swayed to cry out for His crucifixion.
  2. What is going on here? Jesus shows His compassion…even for the people who are about to kill Him.  It would seem that Jesus is speaking beyond His earthly experiences to the city and talking of the entire history that He had witnessed as God.  The people of Jerusalem often rejected the merciful outreach and invitation of God to repent (which is one reason God sent them into the Babylonian captivity for 70 years).  Now they were getting close to judgment again, and it would be severe.  This time, not only would the city be reduced to rubble and the people scattered again – but they would be spiritually blinded by God for far more than 70 years!  As a people, they have been blinded for 1943 years and counting.
  3. But God is gracious & compassionate!  Jesus did not desire their judgment; He wanted to protect them.  He wanted to shelter them and to show His love for them.  His desire is that He could simply open up His arms, and have His children run to Him just as baby chicks would do with their mother.  He was open and willing to receive them the moment they would humble themselves and run.  The problem?  They were not willing to receive His love.  Baby chickens were wiser than these people!  Birds flee when they see overpowering danger, but rebellious people walk straight into the overpowering wrath of God.
  4. It didn’t need to be this way!  To be sure, God had foretold the Jews rejection of the Messiah long ago – He had always known that the very people He came to save would turn away from Him and send Him to the cross.  But the sin of the people was their choice.  They could have turned in repentance (and thankfully SOME did, such as Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimithea, 3000 on the day of Pentecost, and many more!), but by and large they continued in their willful rebellion and faced not only the wrath of God in life when Jerusalem was destroyed, but the wrath of God in eternity.  Their stubbornness of will ended up being their downfall.
    1. That was true for the Jews, and that is just as true for people today.  Not a single soul HAS to face the eternal wrath of God.  When Jesus died for the world, His death was sufficient for all the world to be saved…yet it is plain that not all of the world is saved.  Why not?  Among other things, many people simply are not willing for God to save them.  For God to save them would mean they would have to humble themselves in repentance & faith, and they simply are not willing to do that.  After all, for baby chickens to be saved, they have to acknowledge who their mother hen is and be willing to run to her wings for protection.  It’s not much different with people.  We have to acknowledge who God is, and humble ourselves to run to Him for salvation.  Many people don’t want God – they don’t want to give up being their own lord & master.  They certainly don’t want to surrender their lives in humility in faith.  Because they are not willing to give up their lives, they will find that they certainly cannot save their lives.  Yet the person who loses his/her life for the sake of Christ will save it. (Mt 16:25)
  5. Note that the problem isn’t God.  Both for the Jews and for people today – God was willing to save them.  The problem is that THEY were not willing for God to save them.  Likewise for today – God wants the entire world to be saved!  Paul said that God commands all people everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30).  He wrote to Timothy that God wants all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:4).  God told Ezekiel that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Eze 33:11).  The consistent testimony of Scripture is that God wants to see people saved.  2 Peter 3:9, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." []  So the problem is not God; it’s us.  Human beings who chose to reject Jesus Christ will indeed face an eternity without Jesus Christ.  God has shown Himself to be the compassionate One.  God is the One who sent His only begotten Son in order that we might have life instead of condemnation.  It is humanity which has turned its back upon the compassionate God, and it is men & women’s rebellious willfulness that ensures that they face eternal death.

38 See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ ”

  1. A desolate house?  There would not be a continuing legacy.  Certainly the Jewish people would endure due to the promises of God, but there would not be faithful people in Israel for long.  They would not last…and indeed they did not.  (1) The house (lineage) of David would be lost.  Whereas prior to 70AD, genealogical records were accurate among the Jews, after the last dispersion things became lost and confused.  The last accurate record among the Scripture that exists of a Davidic king is Jesus (and of course, His is the only one that is required).  (2) Their house of worship would be lost.  The temple would be destroyed so much so that not one single stone would stand upon another, and the only thing that would remain from its prior existence would be the remnant of a single wall of the foundation the temple sat upon. (Jesus will speak more about this in Ch. 24)  The identity of the Jewish people was wrapped up in their knowledge of God & the Scriptures – their covenant of a king – their promised land – their temple.  All of these things would be stripped from them.  They would be blinded from the knowledge of the true God & unable to see the truth of the Scriptures they studied and proclaimed.  They have had their king removed from them because they refused to acknowledge their one true King.  Their temple was left utterly destroyed, and their entire sacrificial system of worship was lost.  Jews have not been able to worship God according to the Scriptures since that day.  They would even be removed again from the land & by and large the land of Israel would be ruled over by Gentile nations for centuries. (It has only recently changed that the Jews have returned, and even now they have not yet repented.  The only reason the modern nation of Israel exists is due to the plan of God.) 
  2. Because the people had rejected His final outreach, Jesus tells the city He would not come back to them again until they were ready to receive Him.  Yet we know that the people would see Him again.  Obviously the people would see Jesus again at the various events of His crucifixion.  Was Jesus wrong?  No.  During those times, Jesus was not the One coming to the people; He was brought before the people in the process of being rejected by them.  Here, Jesus is saying He would not graciously come to them again to invite them to repent.  Until the people were ready to receive Him as the King (the one who comes in the name of the Lord, according to Ps 118:26), He would not again address the people.  They had missed out on their last opportunity.
  3. BTW – remember that Luke had recorded Jesus saying these words at an earlier point in His ministry.  Yet here Jesus is in Jerusalem again – was this prophecy of Jesus incorrect?  Was He inconsistent?  Not at all.  Jesus’ earlier prophecy was literally fulfilled on Palm Sunday. The people had already said this about Jesus during the triumphal entry as He came into the city sitting on the foal of a donkey.  Matthew 21:8–9, "(8) And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. (9) Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Hosanna in the highest!”” []  The people absolutely did proclaim Him to be the Messiah King – in partial fulfillment of Psalm 118, and in literal fulfillment of what Jesus prophesied in Luke 13. The problem was that they were fickle.  They would change their mind and reject Jesus.  Now Jesus reiterates the prophecy and says He won’t come to them until they were ready to receive Him as Messiah and Lord in permanence.  This time, Jesus refers to the 2nd coming.  It will take the terrible events of the Great Tribulation, but eventually the spiritual blinders will come off of the eyes of the nation of Israel, and they will understand that Jesus is truly their Messiah.  When Jesus comes again in power and wrath, the nations of the world will mourn, but no doubt the Jews (and others) who have come to faith in Christ will rejoice in gladness and praise to see our Lord coming!
  4. What Jesus says to the Jews of Jerusalem is also true of us today.  We can either receive Jesus as the King, or we reject Him – but there is a cost for rejecting God: desolation.

Conclusion:
How important it is not to reject the compassionate outreach of our loving God!  Ultimately, this is what the scribes and Pharisees had done all their lives – this was the cause of all of their other crimes and sins against God.  If they had truly sought after God in humility and reverence, they would have read God’s word rightly – they would treated the widows and defenseless with justice – they would have reached out to the Gentiles in compassion and truth – they would have brought people to God instead of being obstacles to their salvation, etc.  Instead of looking for legalism and ways to add to the word of God, they would have seen God’s heart in the law and acted in appropriate compassion.  Most of all, they would have recognized the men of God as they came forth…especially the Son of God when He appeared in His incarnation. 

Because their hearts had been hardened to God, they routinely rejected God – and now they sought to murder the only begotten Son of God.  And they wouldn’t stop with Jesus, they would go on persecuting the people of God when the apostles brought the gospel to them.  As a result, they would face terrible judgment.  They were destined to endure the destruction of Jerusalem – and worse yet, apart from repentance, they will still face the Great Tribulation that is still to come.  Truly they have experienced the desolation that comes from rejecting the compassionate grace of God.

May we not make the same mistakes!  May our hearts be humbled before God & not rise up in arrogance!  Sometimes we can be so naïve and claim we would not make the same errors – when we act in the same rebellion.  Instead of running to the protection of our Heavenly Father, we’ll persist in our willfulness against Him.  That is no different than the scribes and Pharisees of the day.

The good news for every person (whether Jew or Gentile) is that no one HAS to face the desolation and wrath of God.  Every person can be saved, and that is God’s desire for you! If to this point you have been one who has joined with the Pharisees in rejecting God, you still have the opportunity to change and repent.  The Pharisees missed their last opportunity that day, but you still have the opportunity to be saved right now.  We’re not guaranteed anything later, but as long as your heart is beating right now, you can still know the compassion and grace of God for yourself.

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