“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” –Mark 15:34
“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.’” (Matthew 23:37–39 ESV)
Like the prophets of God hundreds of years prior, Jesus is lamenting the actions and attitude of the nation of Israel, with Jerusalem as the proxy for the people. He is expressing betrayal over the rejection of His message, not only during His ministry but throughout history. Again and again, the people tossed out or killed God’s prophets and messengers, choosing their own way over the path set out for them by God. Yet no matter how often the people of Israel turn away, Jesus is still ready to spread His protective wings over them.
The same is true for all of us as well. Many a pastor have drawn the parallel between the rebellious and backsliding Israelites of the past and rebellious and backsliding Christians of the present day. As the beginning of Isaiah 53:6 puts it, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way.” Yet, hallelujah of hallelujahs, the story does not end there. As the end of the verse says, “and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” We are wanderers, true, but we belong to a God who refuses to abandon us. Celebrate our God who draws us back under His wings.