Matthew 23:37
What God Did Not Get

This is one of those "tough passages" of the Bible. It is not "tough"
in that it contains sayings or events that we do not understand but
"tough" in that it contains sayings and events which we sometimes do
not like.

These are chapters of strong condemnation from God to man.  People
like to think that God is nothing but love.  If they would read their
Bibles, they would know better.

\\#Matt 23:1-33\\ Jesus had just condemned the scribes and Pharisees
by pronouncing a series of woes (8x) against them. He called them
hypocrites (7x), blind (5x), and fools (2x). At the same time, He
declared they were serpents, vipers, whited sepulchres, and dirty

\\#Matt 23:34-36\\ Jesus warned that He was about to send more
prophets for that generation to ignore and to kill so that the
judgment due for the mistreatment of all the prophets might fall upon

In addition, He is about to prophesy the destruction of the temple
\\#Matt 24:1-2\\, the persecution of the church \\#Matt 24:3-14\\,
the seven years of tribulation \\#Matt 24:15-28\\, and the judgment
of the nation’s \\#Matt 24:29-31\\.

This is surely a difficult section of Scripture, but as Jesus began
this tough message, He repeated a tearful cry that He had made just a
few days earlier while coming across the Mount of Olives to enter
Jerusalem. The text does not tell us Jesus did so here, but when He
first made the statement, Jesus wept as He made it.

Although judgment was soon to fall upon Jerusalem, this statement
makes it clear that our Lord was not pleased with what would soon
happen to the people. It is not what He wanted. God did not get what
He wanted.

The time for all of this is the Passion week. A note I had made on
this text from years ago says it was probably the Tuesday before
Jesus was crucified, although the note did not record the reason why
I wrote it. It was definitively the last hours of Jesus’ life.

I give you all of this background in an effort to help you hear the
inflexion in Jesus’ voice. These words not only have substance. They
also have emotion. Jesus, having now been rejected by His own,
knowing that His death will seal their destruction, looks at the
city and cries, "I would have gathered you to myself, but you would

God is definitely not getting what He wanted.

I do not want to destroy the tone of this message but there is a
theological point that needs to be raised.
    1. God obviously had a will to which the people did not comply.
    2. Some teach that God’s will is absolute, that is, man has no
        choice in the matter.  This belief is called Calvinism.
    3. There are some things about which God’s will is absolute; but
        here, God wanted something that He did not get.  He wanted
        Jerusalem to come to Him but they did not.
    4. Was God disappointed?  Yes.  But God gave the people a choice
        and then God let the people choose.
    5. I wonder how many times God is disappointed with our choices?
    6. Even more, I wonder what things God might want and will not

I. Jesus wants to save but some will not.
    A. In our text, Jesus cried that He wanted Jerusalem to come to
        Him, but they would not.
        1. Certainly, this implies that Jesus wanted to save
        2. Yet they refused.
    B. The Bible confirms this has happened in many places.
        1. The entire Jewish nation rejected Jesus.

John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own
received him not.

Acts 3:26  (Peter to the Jews said) Unto you
first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent
him to bless you, in turning away every one of
you from his iniquities.

        2. But the Bible makes it clear that God wants every person
            to be saved.

1Timothy 2:3  For this is good and acceptable in
the sight of God our Saviour;
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come
unto the knowledge of the truth.

2Peter 3:9  The Lord is not slack concerning his
promise, as some men count slackness; but is
longsuffering to usward, not willing that any
should perish, but that all should come to

        3. But far and away, most people will NOT accept Jesus’ gift
            of salvation.
    C. Consider:
        1. God desires to save every human being that has ever
            a. The idea that God would choose to send someone to hell
                must be news to God.
            b. If God were to arbitrarily force His will on the
                human race, the Scripture makes it clear that it
                would be to save all and condemn none.
            c. Mind you, that is NOT what is going to happen because
                God does not always get what He wants but if God did
                always get what He wanted, that is what would happen!
        2. Even so, the fact that God desires to save all means:
            a. God must have made provision for all souls to be
                saved.  (The blood of Jesus Christ is abundant
                enough, powerful enough, and available enough to
                cover all sinners—including you!)
            b. No soul is so wicked that it cannot be saved.
        3. Yet, God must have the consent of the sinner to save him.
        4. For years, our church took young people to Living Waters
            Youth Camp.  Before we would leave, every parent was
            required to sign permission slips and medical consent
            a. Permission slips give the young people permission
                to take part in some of the riskier activities,
                such as swimming. Suppose a mother and father had
                forgotten to write a YES into that slot.  How sad
                it would be to have a swimming pool in 100 degree
                weather and not be able to use it because we lacked
                the consent of the parent.
            b. Even worse, suppose there was an automobile accident?
                What if a simple procedure could be performed by a
                doctor to take away the pain of an injured child, but
                the medical form was left unsigned and the doctor
                refused to do anything until the parent gave their
                permission?  How horrible!
           c. How much worse it not to be able to be saved from the
               flames of hell but to have to go hell because you did
               not give your consent while there was time!
        5. So Jesus, with tears, weeps and calls out to a refusing
            city, "I would have saved you but you would not!"
    D. Of all the gifts that God has given to mankind, it is the
       greatest gift that will cause some to be damned forever.
        1. What is the greatest gift?
        2. It is choice.
        3. God has given to every human being a free will and a
        4. God wants to save you, will you give Him what He wants?

II. Jesus wants to dwell with us but some will not.
    A. Again, if Jerusalem had gathered to Jesus, He would have
        dwelt with them.
    B. I believe that things would have been different if Israel
        had accepted Jesus instead of rejecting Him.
        1. I know Jesus had to die, but I also know that Jesus was
            offering Himself to Israel as their King.
        2. What might have happened if they accepted?
            a. For one thing, I believe Jesus would have physically
                dwelt with Israel.
                (1) Perhaps the crucifixion would have been delayed.
                (2) Perhaps the world would have gone into the
                (3) Perhaps Jesus would have set up the Davidic rule.
            b. Certainly, somehow things would have been different
                for Israel:
                (1) The temple would not have been destroyed and
                     the city ransacked in 70 AD.
                (2) The Jews would not have been homeless for 1900
                (3) Maybe there would have never been a Middle-
                     East problem.  (Maybe gas would never have been
                      $3.50 to $4 per gallon as it was just a few
                      years ago.)
    C. As things would have been different for the Jerusalem if they
        had allowed Jesus to dwell with them, so things would be
        different for you if you would allow Jesus to dwell with you.
        1. I am speaking to Christians not the lost.
        2. We all know that God and Jesus dwell inside every believer
            through the person of the Holy Ghost.

1Corinthians 3:16  Know ye not that ye are the
temple of God, and that the Spirit of God
dwelleth in you?

2Corinthians 13:5 …Know ye not your own selves,
how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be

        3. Yet, there is a difference in Jesus being in us and the
            two of us truly dwelling together.

Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be

            a. There is much disagreement between Christians and
                (1) Some Christians are not in agreement that Christ
                     is their Lord.
                (2) Some Christians are not in agreement with Christ
                     over what right and wrong is.
                (3) Some Christians are not in agreement with Christ
                     over acceptable and unacceptable lifestyles.
                (4) Some Christians are not even in agreement with
                     Christ over going to church, reading their
                     Bibles, speaking with profanity, lusting
                     after others.
            b. If there is no agreement, how can the two dwell
        4. Listen to Paul’s prayer for the CHRISTIAN!

Ephesians 3:14 For this cause I bow my knees unto
the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by

            a. It sounds like Paul was saying, Christ wants to
                dwell with you, but you are not letting Him!
            b. Such a dwelling together…
                (1) Strengthens us.
                (2) Enriches us.
                (3) Plants us in His love.
            c. But then again, we have a choice.
            d. In that choice, God is not getting what He wants.

III. Jesus wants to give us the good things, but some would not.
     A. In math, we learned an important concept.
         1. It is the concept of rounding off numbers.
         2. If the number ends in a 5 or greater, you round up.
         3. If the numbers ends in a 4 or less, you leave it alone.
         4. In Christ, God always rounds up.
         5. God always wants to give us His best.
    B. God wants to give to you such great things that you cannot
        begin to comprehend them.

Lev 26:3  If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my
commandments, and do them;
4  Then I will give you rain in due season, and
the land shall yield her increase, and the trees
of the field shall yield their fruit.
5  And your threshing shall reach unto the
vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the
sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the
full, and dwell in your land safely.

De 28:8  The LORD shall command the blessing upon
thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou
settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee
in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

2Co 9:8  And God is able to make all grace abound
toward you; that ye, always having all
sufficiency in all things, may abound to every
good work:

10  Now he that ministereth seed to the sower
both minister bread for your food, and multiply
your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your

    C. But there again, we have a choice.
        1. Someone has said that just before God’s offers His
            best, Satan will offer his.
        2. Many Christians don’t even seem to be waiting for
            Satan’s best.  They are taking any old thing the
            world and the devil will throw at them.
        3. Jesus stood, with a broken heart having something better
            to give the people, but they would not.
            a. God has a better walk with Him to give you.
            b. God has a better heart to give to you.
            c. God has a better marriage to give you.
            d. God has a better career to give you.
            e. God has better health to give you.
            f. God even has better fun to give you.
        4. You need to quit short changing yourself and God!

Jer 29:11  For I know the thoughts that I think
toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace,
and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
12  Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go
and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
13  And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye
shall search for me with all your heart.

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