Summary: Throughout history, God continually gave His chosen people urgent warnings. As Jesus looks out over the city of Jerusalem, He laments the fact that they failed to heed those warnings by refusing to recognize Him as their Messiah.
1. The urgent warning of God’s permanent Word (37a)
2. The urgent warning of God’s passionate grace (37b)
3. The urgent warning of God’s present consequence (38)
4. The urgent warning of God’s pending judgment (39)
Thomas Huxley was known as Darwin’s Bulldog. He was one of the ones who popularized Darwin’s theory of evolution in the mid-to-late 1800’s. Huxley was known for having a tremendous sense of urgency. Chuck Swindoll tells a story about him and his sense of urgency in his book Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life. He wrote that Huxley was in Dublin, Ireland and was in a tremendous hurry to catch a train. At the time, in the 1800’s, Dublin was known for its horse-drawn taxis. Well, showing his typical sense of urgency, Huxley ran and jumped in the taxi. Before he even got the door closed, he shouted to the driver, “Hurry—I’m almost late—drive fast!” As soon as Huxley settled in his seat, he closed his eyes to rest for a few minutes. After what seemed like a very long time, Huxley opened his eyes to find out that they were going in the complete opposite direction from the train station. Of course, that startled him, so he shouted at the driver—“Do you even know where you’re going?” Of course the driver didn’t know where he was going—Huxley never told him where to go. So the driver didn’t miss a beat. He just calmly said, “No sir. But I’m getting there as fast as I can.” Yes, Thomas Huxley had a tremendous sense of urgency in everything he did. But just like his belief system, he urgently headed on a path to nowhere. If he had kept his eyes open on his taxi ride, he could have seen the signs that would have told him he was heading in the wrong direction. If he would have opened his eyes to God’s creation, he would have seen the signs that would have told him that Darwin’s theories were the wrong direction. That’s the way that God has chosen to do things. He gives us warning signs to let us know when we’re heading in the wrong direction. And He doesn’t keep those warning signs secret or subtle or hidden. He makes them bold and plain and urgent. Throughout history, God continually gave His chosen people urgent warnings. In our passage this morning, Jesus looks out over the city of Jerusalem. And as He does, He weeps. He weeps as He laments the fact that those people failed to heed God’s warnings. They failed to heed His warnings because they refused to recognize Jesus as their Messiah. But did you know that God still gives us warnings today? His warnings didn’t end with the Jewish people that Jesus was weeping over. He continues to urgently warn us today. As we stand on this side of the cross, do we heed His urgent warnings and recognize Jesus as our Lord and Savior? Or do we cause Jesus to weep over us like He did over Jerusalem? Does He weep over us because we fail to heed His urgent warnings? This morning, I want each of us to hear the urgent warnings of God. Is want us to hear His warnings and realize the urgency of our situation. I want us to quit putting off till tomorrow what He calls us to do today. Because there might not be a tomorrow. That’s how urgent His warnings are. I want us to heed those warnings by recognizing Jesus for who He is this morning. In order to do that, we’re going to look at God’s four urgent warnings. Our first warning is the urgent warning of God’s permanent Word. His first urgent warning is found in the first part of verse 37.
The urgent warning of God’s permanent Word. Jesus’ words in this passage mark a transition. All throughout chapter 23, Jesus was condemning the hypocrisy of the scribes and the Pharisees. He finishes in verse 33 by calling them serpents—a generation of vipers. And then He condemns them for killing people. But had this group of scribes and Pharisees actually killed anyone? Not yet anyway. But Jesus told them that the blood of all the martyred prophets would be on their hands. Why? Because they refused to listen to the Word of God that came from their lips. They heard it. They knew the words. As a matter of fact, the scribes were experts in God’s law. They knew all the ins and outs of all the commandments of God. Plus all the restraints that the Jews added on top of God’s law. And the Pharisees… The Pharisees were known as the most righteous people around. Outwardly, they kept the Law as perfectly as a person possibly could. I’ve always said that a Pharisee would make a perfect neighbor. They would do anything in the world for you. They would give you the shirt off your back. Outwardly, they were the best people you’d ever meet. But inwardly, they were a different story. That’s why Jesus called them whitewashed tombs in verse 27. They were beautifully maintained and sparkling white on the outside where everybody could see. But on the inside, they were rotten and decayed and corrupt. Jesus said that on the inside, they were full of dead men’s bones. But in our passage, Jesus makes a transition. He moves from blasting the scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy to weeping over Jerusalem. The parallel passage in Luke 19:41 says that as He came near the city, He wept. That’s when He spoke these words. He moved from condemning the scribes and Pharisees for killing people to accusing Jerusalem of killing people. He said that Jerusalem killed God’s prophets. Jerusalem stoned the ones God had sent them. One of the things that is clear when you look through the Old Testament is how many prophets God sent to Israel. From Moses to Malachi. As long as there was a nation of Israel, God sent the prophets. Why? To deliver His Word to them. God concretely revealed Himself to them through the mouths and pens of His prophets. He authenticated His Word through them with miracles and signs. And then He preserved His Word in writing. And what did Jerusalem do with the Word that they had been given? They disregarded it. Now, by the time of Jesus, they would certainly never admit to having disregarded it. As a matter of fact, the scribes and Pharisees would let you know how much they regarded God’s Word. But did they really? Romans 10:3 says, “For they [the Jews] being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” They were so busy trying to establish their own righteousness, that they forgot what God’s Word said. Remember Isaiah 64:6? “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” See, that’s what the Jews could never get into their heads. It doesn’t matter if you are a real good person. It doesn’t matter if you give people the shirt off your back. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best neighbor in the whole world. If that’s what you’re trusting in—it’s filthy rags. That’s what Israel was trusting in. They were trusting in their own righteousness instead of heeding the urgent warnings in God’s Word. The urgent warnings to turn from relying on themselves and turn to trusting in Him. But they didn’t. they didn’t heed the urgent warnings of God’s permanent Word. They didn’t heed the urgent warning of God’s precious grace either. Look back at verse 37: