Jesus shows his frustration with Jerusalem in this scripture. He was frustrated because it was his desire to protect the people and comfort them. However the rulers of Jerusalem over the many years would not and instead caused suffering.
When he speaks of Jerusalem killing and stoning the prophets sent by God, he is talking of the leaders. At that time Herod was seeking to capture and put Jesus to death. In previous times the rulers did likewise to many of the prophets and righteous men. In Herod’s case he had already killed John the Baptist, and often such slayings were with the agreement or approval of the priests.
They did not recognise these men sent by God just as they did not recognise Jesus as the Son of God. Instead they rejected God’s prophets who were sent to benefit the people and kept the people in subjection to their whims and desires rather than the word of God.
Thus we see Jesus shows some emotion, which you can feel as you read his words. He would have liked to intervene for the sake of the prophets and the people, but instead he knew these things had to run their course.
Why Did He Not Intervene?
God gave man a free will to choose his own path. The whole of creation was set on a path and a journey, which is progressing towards a conclusion. Had God intervened in the broad scope of these things then the plan could not be achieved where man chooses his own destiny. In effect God’s intervention in world affairs would have taken away man’s choice, which was not part of the plan of God.
What the Lord is seeking is for a people who will follow him by choice. He is not seeking a people he has forced to follow him through intervention but rather he seeks those who come to him of their own free will and volition so that they want to be with God. He is not seeking slaves but rather children.
Thus such a path is what led to Jesus feeling frustrated. He was pained that the people suffered because of those leaders who chose to abuse them and the teachers, preachers and prophets sent by God to guide and help them. Especially those of Jerusalem who mis-used the laws of God they were entrusted to teach and uphold and instead twisted them for power and gain.
So did God Never Intervene?
Of course he does intervene, for he intervenes with individuals when they come to Jesus seeking his way. It is at the individual level that God has chosen to intervene with man. He intervenes still today so that man can be taught and learn what is pleasing to God. God guides, guards and watches over his people as well as leading them forwards into the light of his Son, Jesus Christ.
But the course of this world will continue to follow the path laid down by God unless or until the people of the world come to him for his intervention. He said, “At the acceptable time I have listened to you, and helped you on the day of salvation.” Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)
It is at the individual level that God intervenes with man. He does this through faith in Jesus Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. At the higher “macro” level, the events of this world will continue according to the plan of God until they reach a conclusions. But at the individual “micro” level God intervened and continues to intervene with man for his salvation and growth.
At the appointed time God will again directly intervene in the affairs of man and this world in a high profile way. When the Lord returns at the second coming of Jesus Christ then we will see God’s intervention for the sake of his people and to save them from this world. It is for this reason we must prepare now so that we are ready when Jesus does appear to take his own to himself.
(Photo sourced from stock.xchng www.sxc.hu/ taken by Marketa Skornickova)