Key Verse: Luke 13:34
Big Idea: The heart of the Son of Man is broken when people refuse to hear His call.
In Luke 13, Jesus’ conflict with the religious leaders begins to escalate. He compares them to a fruitless fig tree, ready to be cut down, heals a woman on the sabbath day and warns that the apparent outsiders will eat at the table with Abraham, while the insiders will be cast out. As the heat turned up, Jesus was told that His life was in danger and He ought to flee. He responded instead that He would continue His work as He made His way to Jerusalem, and then cried out over the city with a broken heart. Like a hen shelters her chicks beneath her wings, Jesus said that He had tried to pull the people into safety and security, yet they rejected Him time after time. He warned them that they were out of time, and would not see Him again until they were ready to receive Him (Psalm 118:26).
The picture here is complex. Jesus is loving, patient and ready to receive His people. He is heart broken that they refuse to come to Him, yet there comes a time when their time is up. They are left desolate: a fig tree ready to be uprooted by God. Yet, there is a third layer. In the future, they will say: “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” The door has closed for this generation, but a future generation will see Jesus for who He is. Jesus was truly the Christ, the Messiah of Israel, and while His own generation rejected Him all the way to the cross, one day the people will return to Him, when the fullness of the Gentiles have been saved (Romans 11:25).
In our own lives, we can be reassured of God’s patient love. For most of us, we hear His loving call and break His heart many times before we respond. But, eventually, we have our last chance. Maybe you have been trying to go to church and trying to be good for a long time. Yet, the need to be saved is something you resist. Jesus has called you over and over again to admit you are a sinner and that your works can never save you, and cry out to Him for forgiveness. Maybe He is calling you now. But don’t reject Him, because there will be a last chance for you.
Discussion idea: What does it mean to be patient? Does patience mean that someone is never punished for their mistakes?
Prayer focus: If you are a Christian, pray for the salvation of the lost, especially the nation of Israel. If you have resisted Jesus’ call, pray something like this: “I know that I am a sinner, and I deserve your judgment. But I believe that Jesus loves me enough that He died for me, and that He rose again because the penalty I deserve was paid in full. I am sorry for that sin, and sorry for breaking your heart. Please forgive me, and change my heart forever.”