Posted by: Michelle Knoll | October 9, 2012

Thirty-One Days of Hearing His Voice {Day 9} – The Longing of His Heart

“O 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, but you were not willing.” — Matthew 23:37

“How often I have longed… .”

“I have longed.”


There’s a longing in God’s heart.  But what does God long for?  What could He possibly want?  He’s God, right?  Creator of the universe, correct?  The maker of Heaven and earth.  So, if there’s something He wants, He could just… create it, don’t you think?

But the fact of the matter is, He’s already created what He wants.

And Jesus spoke of that, as He spoke to the people in Jerusalem on that day centuries ago.  He said, “how I have longed to gather your children.”  His heart ached for His people, the people of Israel, to know him as their Savior and Lord.

But the city was too busy.  The people were too busy with their daily lives, and the rabbis and Pharisees were too busy telling people what to do.  The shepherds were too busy with their sheep, and the marketplace was too busy with their wares.  So not many noticed that Jesus had this longing.  His disciples noticed, as they walked with Him from there to the Mount of Olives.  But even there they changed the subject, asking the Lord when the temple would be torn down (He had mentioned that while they were still in the city).

I wonder… what kind of expression did the Lord have on His face right then?  What look did Jesus give to his disciples at that point?  I know He answered their questions, and I’m sure He didn’t upbraid them.  I’m sure there were no comments like, “didn’t you hear what I just said back there?”  There’s no record that Jesus ever brought it up again.  But the longing was still there.  How do I know this?  I’ll explain in a minute.

And I know the longing was in God’s heart, too.  How do I know that?  Keep reading.

Jesus prayed a very long prayer before He went with the disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane, and in this prayer He asks the Father to protect the disciples and to watch over them.  From the supper they shared to celebrate the Feast of Passover, to the time in the Garden, Jesus kept the disciples close by.  Only Judas was away from the group during that time.  Jesus kept them all together.  I believe He kept them so close because this longing was so strong in His heart, and He knew time was running out.  Soon He would be crucified, and then He would be gone for three days.

He was longing, aching for them to know who He was and how much He loved them.  He wanted to keep them “gathered” all together.

And how did God show the longing was also there in His heart?  Well, most Christians take one part of the crucifixion story as just part of the story, but I think it’s very, very significant.  When Jesus died on the cross, the temple veil rent from top to bottom.  This wasn’t a thin veil, and it wasn’t tiny.  This thing was huge!  So it took the hand of God to tear the thing, right down the middle.

But why would God do that?  See, as Christians we tend to look at the New Testament with eyes that have seen centuries of church movements.  In other words, we don’t look at the things of the New Testament the way people of that time frame would.  Okay, so, how would a Jew interpret the temple veil being torn in two?  What would the Jews think of that?

I believe it would mean only one thing to the Jews: God had a longing to be with Hi people.  He was tired of living in the Ark of the Covenant.  He had a longing so deep, so powerful, so intense, it rent the veil in front of the Most Holy Place.

He has that same longing in His heart for you.  Can you sense it?


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