Stylos is the blog of Jeff Riddle, a Reformed Baptist Pastor in North Garden, Virginia. The title "Stylos" is the Greek word for pillar. In 1 Timothy 3:15 Paul urges his readers to consider "how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar (stylos) and ground of the truth."
Image (left side): Decorative urn with title for the book of Acts in Codex Alexandrinus.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets,
and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children
together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!” (Luke
34 Jesus offers a lamentation over the city of Jerusalem.Matthew records that Jesus uttered a very
similar lamentation just after his final triumphal entry into that holy city (Matthew
23:37-39).There is no need to doubt
that this was a lamentation Jesus made more than once during his ministry.
laments that Jerusalem, the city of David, which should have gladly received
God’s messengers, instead has killed and stoned those sent (apostello) to them.
then uses a most unusual metaphor: “how often,” he says, “would I have gathered
thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings….”It is interesting on at least three levels:
it draws an animal analogy from the lesser to the greater.As a hen would gather her chicks, so Jesus
would have gathered the inhabitants of that great city.
it is a rare maternal image for the work of God.
and most striking, it parallels several passages in the Psalms which describes
God as taking Israel under his “wings.”See especially Psalm 91:2, 4:
Psalm 91:2 I will say of the
LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
4 He shall cover thee with his
feathers, and under his wings
shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
see how Jesus is applying what was said of the LORD in this Psalm to
himself?He is taking upon himself the
prerogatives of God.
as unregenerate Israel of old rejected God, so too the unregenerate of Jesus’ day
rejected him.To know Jesus is to know
God; to reject Jesus is to reject God.
the stunning last line of v. 34:“and ye
would not!”The verb here is thelo, meaning to will or to wish or to
want.Oddly enough this verse (and its
parallel in Matthew 23) is often cited by Arminians to refute the doctrines of
grace.“See,” they say, “Jesus said he
wanted to save them but they would not (or they exercised their free will in
rejecting Jesus).”This kind of argument
completely misunderstands the Calvinistic (Biblical) view of man’s will.Yes, we agree, man had a free will in Adam, but
then Adam fell, and we have now inherited a corrupted will.As the Puritan primer put it, “In Adam’s fall,
we sinned all.” Martin Luther’s most
famous theological work was titled “The Bondage of the Will.”Man’s will is a slave to sin.As Paul puts it in Romans 3:11:“there is none that understandeth, there is
none that seeketh after God.”What Jesus
is describing here, nonetheless, is the compassion of God toward an
unregenerate people who are hardened in their sin and rejection of him.How often would I have sheltered you but you
would not (or, you were not willing)!
time there is a natural disaster or fire or such, it seems there are stories of
folk who were warned to leave but who refused, often to their peril and even
death.The rescuers are there, but they
turn them away.That is what
unregenerate men do to Christ.And Jesus
laments their rejection of him.