Matthew 23:37–39 (ESV) ~“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
Everythingis upside down. He has always spoken in riddles and stories, sometimes it even felt like code – but now it seemed like crazy talk. He was standing on top of a hill overlooking the city and weeping like someone had died – or like someone was going to. Didn’t he remember just a few days earlier when He had raised Lazarus from the dead? Whatever was wrong, surely He could do that again?
It had ignited a passion and zeal in His followers that made them believe that this was the start of something big. Something huge. This was going to be the moment that they had all been waiting and believing for – when Jesus became their true King and fulfilled the prophecies of old. When He overthrew the corrupt religious leaders and put them in their place. When even the Roman Empire didn’t stand a chance against a God who wanted Israel to get back to being large and in charge. Water into wine had been a parlor trick. Healing people of disease more impressive. But raising people from the dead; this was proof that He was from God – and He was for them. So why does He now seem so sad and alone.
He has spent YEARS building relationships with them. Learning their strengths and drawing them out. Proving to them that they are capable of things they never imagined they could do. He has gone out of His way to be “one of them” and to include even the worst and darkest that humanity has to offer, and yet now, it seems as though He is an island. Himself against the world. He is alone, and no one seems to understand why.
And then there was this moment. One they couldn’t get out of their minds. Just when they thought it couldn’t get any stranger; that things couldn’t be any worse than they already were – He had gone and said this;
Matthew 24:1–2 (ESV) ~ Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”
The temple? He was saying the temple was going to be destroyed? The very house of God was going to crumble? Wasn’t He supposed to be BRINGING IN the kingdom? Why would God allow for something so incredible, so special, so sacred to be brought down; just when Israel is being lifted up? None of it made any sense. Perhaps it was another riddle. A story He would someday explain. But for now, the mood is volatile; the group is anxious and confused. Sanity is fraying. Everything, is upside down.