A powerful challenge from Jesus to choose life, and joy, and fruitfulness – an an insight into his compassion and love for a wayward city.
And see this reflection and poem – ‘to know that you’ve been wept for is to know that you are loved.’
Repent or perish
13 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them – do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.’
6 Then he told this parable: ‘A man had a fig-tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, “For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig-tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?”
8 ‘“Sir,” the man replied, “leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig round it and fertilise it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.”’
Jesus’ sorrow for Jerusalem
31 At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, ‘Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.’
32 He replied, ‘Go and tell that fox, “I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.” 33 In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day – for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!
34 ‘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, and you were not willing. 35 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.”’
A song of ascents. Of David.
1 I rejoiced with those who said to me,
‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’
2 Our feet are standing
in your gates, Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem is built like a city
that is closely compacted together.
4 That is where the tribes go up –
the tribes of the Lord –
to praise the name of the Lord
according to the statute given to Israel.
5 There stand the thrones for judgment,
the thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
‘May those who love you be secure.
7 May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels.’
8 For the sake of my family and friends,
I will say, ‘Peace be within you.’
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your prosperity.
Picture credit: James B. Janknegt: Man of Sorrows, 1990 (oil on canvas, 36 X 28 )