THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE WRONG CHOICE
Luke 13:31 35
God had a long standing love affair with Jerusalem. Under the beloved King David, the city had been made the
capital city of the people of God. When Solomon had built the beautiful temple in the city, God chose this temple
as the place in which He would manifest Himself on the earth. It was the only place on the earth in which the Holy
God of Israel so manifested Himself for a long period of time. The prophets spoke of this beloved city as being
the very center of the earth. It was the scene of so many of the mighty deeds of God. And now God has done His
greatest love deed of all, He has visited Jerusalem in the person of His Son. O what love! It is the divine love that
bursts forth in the lament of our text.
The setting in which Luke places this lament is very interesting. While Jesus is still east of the Jordan in Perea, a
committee of Pharisees inform Him that Herod, the king over that region, has plans to kill Him. It is difficult to
know what to make of this. Were the Pharisees actually cooperat¬ing with their natural enemy Herod? Or were
they interested in protecting Jesus? Or could it be that they wanted to get Jesus to move on to Jerusalem where
their leaders had more influence than they did in Perea? Whatever their motivation, the reaction of Jesus is
clear. He responds by sending a message to the "fox". By this designation, Jesus probably intends to refer to
Herod as a person of little significance. He wants it to be known that God deter¬mines the course and outcome
of His life, not the little ruler over Galilee and Perea. The message is that He will finish what God has given Him to
do, and then He will go to Jerusalem to die. He has already committed Himself to suffer the fate of other
prophets, death in Jerusalem. This city that God has loved so much has made a tragic mistaken choice. They
have chosen to reject Him and His ministry, and the result will be His death.
It is into this context that Luke interjects this outcry which was proba¬bly made later in the context in which
Matthew places it. Matthew has it coming as the conclusion of His last message in the temple. Luke puts it here
to demonstrate just how much it meant to Jesus to have Jerusalem reject His offer of love. It is truly an unveiling
of the heart of God.
What Jerusalem did collectively, our culture has done collectively. Western culture has made a choice against
Jesus the Son of God. Our culture has decided that it has no room for this One. And what our culture has done
is only a reflection of what millions of individuals have done. A choice has been made and it is to reject any offer
that Jesus makes. It is a choice to refuse to submit to His claims of Lordship. The consequences are essentially
the same for us that they were for Jerusalem. Consider them with me.
I. A WRONG CHOICE BY MAN BRINGS DISAPPOINTMENT TO GOD
There is no greater expression of divine disappointment found in all of Scripture. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you
who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together as a
hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!" "Jerusalem" is repeated to give emphasis to
the pain that is in the heart of God. This people that He has loved for so long have become a cause of great
disappoint¬ment to Him.
God is disappointed because of wasted gifts. God has been faithful to express His love to Jerusalem. He had
sent to her the finest of His prophets. The ministry of the prophets was a love gift from God to the nation of
Israel. No other city had the counsel of God offered directly to her leaders. But instead of accepting this gift of
God with gratitude, they killed the proph¬ets. The Biblical record of Jerusalem's response to the prophets is
clear. Not one of them was received with the gratitude and obedience He should have received. They were
despised, hated, and on occasion even put to death. Then there were others that God sent priests, and wise
men who gave godly counsel. They too were a love gift from God. But they were stoned! It hurt God to see his
love gifts so mistreated.
Are you aware that every opportunity to hear the Gospel is a gift from God? You may not have stoned or killed
any of them. Our culture has chosen to be nicer about it. They have chosen to just ignore them, or to ridicule
them. The only reason anyone ever brought the Gospel to you is that God loves you. The choice to reject the
gift of love is a great disappointment to God.
God is disappointed because of His frustrated purpose. The King James best catches the force of these words.
"How oft would I have gathered you together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wing, but you would not."
"How oft" reminds Jerusalem of the repetition of the divine message and offer. "Would I have" translates the word
that means desire or will. This is what God desired or willed to do for Jerusalem. He desired to treat her like a
mother bird treats her little ones. This is a familiar figure to those who are acquainted with the ways of God's
feathery creatures. At the sound of approaching danger, the mother bird will cluck for her little ones. She will lift
her wings so that they can hide under them. When they are safely tucked under her wings, she will brace herself
to take whatever danger might beset her little ones. God saw the danger that beset Jerusalem. He purposed to
be her Protector and Deliverer. He desired to be her Savior. He offered to her His covering and protective care.
But she would not! She refused to avail herself of the love and care that God offered. 0 how it hurt Him!
This may be your story. God purposes for you what He purposed for Jerusa¬lem. He offers to you the covering
of His love and care. He purposes to save you from the consequences of your sin, and to make you one of His
own. If you spurn His offer, He is so disappointed!
This raises a serious question for us. Could God not have forced Jerusa¬lem to have come under His protective
wings? Obviously, He had the power to do it. But this reveals a limitation that God has placed upon Himself. He
loves Jerusalem too much to force Jerusalem to do that which she is not willing to do. He will woo her in love, but
He will not force her. If she ever hides under His wings, it will be because she has chosen to hide under his
wings. The same is true with you. God deeply and sincerely desires to be your Savior and Deliverer. He desires
to hide you beneath His wings of love, but He will not force you. He will woo you, but He will not compel you. You
must make a choice. He will give to you the freedom to say "no" to His offer of love.
The consequence of saying "no" will be a deep disappointment to the heart of the great Lover of the souls of
II. THE WRONG CHOICE BY MAN BRINGS DESTRUCTION TO THE MAN
The announcement of the result of Jerusalem's choice is so sobering. "Look, your house is left to you desolate. I
tell you, you will not see me again until you say, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.''
We best understand this destruction when we understand the nature of the choice. Jerusalem "was not willing" to
receive Jesus as God's appointed Messiah. They did not desire to be under His wings. They desired to do things
their way. They did not desire the correction and direction that came from the Word of God. They wanted to be
the lord over their own lives. Unless you understand what they wanted you cannot see the significance of what
Is this not the choice that man makes today? Let's be honest about the nature of our choice. We do not want
Jesus Christ on His terms. We are willing to receive Him on our terms. We will receive Him if He does not make
radical demands on us, but if He is coming into our lives to exercise His lordship and to make radical changes in
our lives, He can do it someplace else.
The destruction of man is a result of the judgment of God. God's judg¬ment is not the destruction of man, but it
results in the destruction of man. God said to Jerusalem, "your house is left to you desolate." To what house
does He refer? Does He refer to the temple? It is true that from this time onward, the temple would be an empty
house because the presence of God aban¬doned the temple. But this is more likely to be a reference to the city
itself, the house of the city. The pronoun is significant. "Your" house is left to you desolate. They did not desire
to make it ''His" house. They wanted to retain ownership and control for themselves. The judgment of God is to
let them do just that. It means that the city will no longer be under the protection of God. It means that the city will
no longer have any guid¬ance from God. It means that the city is on its own without God. The judgment of God
is simply to leave man to himself: to leave man with an empty house.
According to Paul in Romans 1, this is still the way God acts in judg¬ment. God "turns them over" to their own
mind and ways. That is all that is necessary to bring about the destruction of man.
The end of the matter is that left to himself, man will produce his own destruction. This is precisely what
happened to Jerusalem. Due to a number of unwise decisions and rebellious acts, it became the object of the
wrath of Rome a few years later, and was leveled to the ground. Not a stone of the temple was left on top of
another. The dead of the city were stacked around the city like cordwood. They produced their own destruction.
God was not there to protect and guide them.
Do you not want God in your life? You can make that choice and God will honor it. Before you make the choice,
you need to be mindful that the conse¬quence will be life without God, and that means destruction.
We have looked at this text negatively. We have seen what a wrong choice does. But what about a right choice?
When you turn this text around, you can see the consequences of a right choice. A right choice on the part of
man is a delight to the heart of God. God rejoices in mercy and salvation. A right choice on the part of man is the
salvation of man. He will find a place of protection and care under the saving wings of God. God helps us to
choose to receive His offer of love gratefully and submissively.