“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”
King James Version (KJV)
23:37 #Luke 13:34|.
Mt 23:37 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, [thou] that killest the prophets. The intense feeling that spoke in this utterance comes out first in the redoubling of the word Jerusalem; next in the picture of the sins of the city which he draws--a city so wicked that it was not content with rejecting the messengers of God, but even slew them. I know of nothing more touching than this apostrophe. How often would I have gathered thy children. Not only had the city been warned again and again by the prophets, but the Lord had visited it at least six or seven times, and had for months taught in its streets. Nor did his solicitude end with the cross. His long suffering, patience and love are shown by his charge in the commission to the apostles: "To preach repentance and remission in his name among all nations, 'beginning at Jerusalem'" (Lu 24:47). Ye would not! "Would not" explains the cause of the rejection of the gospel. It is not because God in Christ is not ready: he "would gather" them. It is not because men cannot come, but because they will not come. Christ wished that salvation of Jerusalem; his will was for them to be saved: he sought to influence their wills to make a choice of salvation, but they "would not". So God still "is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2Pe 3:9), but there are many "who will not come to Christ that they might have life" (Joh 5:40). While God wills the salvation of men, he does not destroy free agency by coercing the human will, but says: "Whosoever will, let him come" (Re 22:17).