“Jesus Hugs”

“O, Jerusalem, Jerusalem…how often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.”

Matthew 23:37

Mothers know, there’s no joy like that of hugging your children. I can’t imagine the pain I’d feel if I tried to hug Amy or Jon, and they wouldn’t let me. And yet, that’s how Jesus must have felt when He tried to hug the children of Jerusalem—they wouldn’t let Him!


Jesus had just finished reciting a list of “woes” to the religious leaders, accusing them of focusing on rules rather than relationship, on outward appearance rather than the heart. His “woes” sound harsh unless we consider Jesus’ heart. He was actually warning the religious of the deep suffering and affliction they would experience if they continued down the path of pride—a performance-based attitude toward God and a judgmental-attitude toward people.


Jesus had called the religious leaders to come to HIM, to take HIS yoke upon them, so He could protect them from the calamity of a rule-focused life. Jesus opened His arms of relationship to them, but they would not let Him hug them.


I wonder how Jesus feels when I try to find significance from my performance or my appearance. He knows the longings of my heart cannot be met outside of His arms of relationship. So, why wouldn’t He want to protect me from such disappointing woes?


Jesus wants to gather me close for a lifetime hug, will I let Him?


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