NOVEMBER 12, 2022



“Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You kill the prophets and stone to death those who are sent to you. Many times I wanted to gather your people as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you did not let me. Now your house will be left completely empty” (Matthew 23:37-38 New Century Version).

God requires your willingness and cooperation to do whatever He wants to do in your life. He is not going to force you. He has created you as a free moral agent and you have the power to make choices. You can decide to accept or reject His plan for your life.

Everyone God used or is currently using said yes to His call. Isaiah 6:8 says, “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me’” (New King James Version).

All the disciples of Jesus said yes to His invitation to follow Him. He didn’t force any of them to be His followers. He called them and they voluntarily responded to His call. When one of them, Judas Iscariot, chose to betray Him, He knew about it and told them that one of them would betray Him. He went further to point out the betrayer among them such that if the person wanted to have a change of mind, he would. But Jesus didn’t stop Judas. Rather, He told Him to do quickly what he was about to do.

John 13:21-28 says, “When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.’ Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke. Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke. Then, leaning back on Jesus’ breast, he said to Him, ‘Lord, who is it?’ Jesus answered, ‘It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.’ And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, ‘What you do, do quickly.’ But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him” (New King James Version). Judas chose to betray Jesus.

In Genesis 3, Eve chose to disobey God in the Garden of Eden and ate the forbidden fruit. God saw Eve and her husband, Adam, when they were disobeying Him but He didn’t stop them. They were exercising their right as a free moral agent.

In Matthew 23:37-38, Jesus said, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You kill the prophets and stone to death those who are sent to you. Many times I wanted to gather your people as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you did not let me. Now your house will be left completely empty” (Matthew 23:37-38 New Century Version). Jesus said this as He was going out of the Temple for the last time. Note the phrase “but you did not let me.” The people of Jerusalem did not let Him and Jesus didn’t force them. He required their willingness to do what He wanted to do but they were unwilling.

The New King James Version puts the verse thus: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate.” Again, note the phrase “but you were not willing.”

Jesus called Jerusalem twice: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem.” That suggests an expression of strong emotions. In Luke 22, He called Simon twice before saying what he wanted to tell him. “And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat’” (verse 31 New King James Version). Clarke notes, When a name is thus repeated in the sacred writings, it appears to be always intended as an expression of love, manifested by a warning voice” (Adam Clarke’s Commentary).

Jesus also repeated Martha’s name in Luke 10:41. “And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things’”(Luke 10:41 New King James Version).

When Jesus encountered Saul of Tarsus on the way to Damascus, He called him twice. “Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’” (Acts 9:4 New King James Version). Also, when David was mourning the death of Absalom, he cried, “O my son Absalom-my son, my son Absalom-if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!” (2 Samuel 18:33 New King James Version).

Where I am from, when you call the name of your son/daughter or a younger person whom you want to talk to more than one time, not because he/she cannot hear you, you’re telling the person that you want to tell him/her something important that he/she should listen to carefully.

Jesus called Jerusalem twice, as you have read in Matthew 23:37. The Good News Translation renders it thus: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You kill the prophets and stone the messengers God has sent you! How many times I wanted to put my arms around all your people, just as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not let me! And so your Temple will be abandoned and empty.”

Note the phrase “your Temple.” It was no longer the Temple of God! It was no more “My house” – the house of God  (Matthew 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46). God had abandoned the Temple to the people. His presence was no more there. His glory had departed the Temple, which was an object of pride for the Jews. The Temple would become spiritually abandoned and empty, completely empty, or desolate. The Temple was also destroyed and became desolate when the Romans attacked Jerusalem in 70 AD.

Jesus condemned Jerusalem for being a place of injustice and wickedness rather than an epitome of righteousness as the city God has put His name to dwell. Jesus said Jerusalem rejected all His efforts to protect and care for her people. He had visited Jerusalem multiple times previously.

Jesus expressed His love for the Jews and, particularly, Jerusalem so much that He wept over Jerusalem and declared her future destruction. Luke 19:41-44 says, “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace — but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you’” (New International Version).

Consequently, Jerusalem, for failing to cooperate with God’s plan, would suffer desolation. Jesus left an unwilling Jerusalem to face the consequences of her action. Will you let God do what He wants to do in your life? Will you willingly cooperate with Him and not behave like the Jews of the days of Jesus? The power to save the Jews was available but their willingness was missing. Willingly cooperate with God. He has the best plan for your life. He has your best interest at heart. He loves you more than you love yourself. He is calling you now.

The reason people will go to hell is not that God cannot or is not willing to save them. 1 Timothy 2:4 says God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9b).

People will go to hell because they are unwilling to cooperate with the salvation plan of God. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Those who refuse to surrender their lives to Jesus show that they are unwilling to let God do what He wants to do in their lives. Therefore, they will spend their eternity in hellfire.

God has a great plan for your life starting with the salvation of your soul. But He requires your willingness. Are you willing to let Him do what He wants to do in your life? “‘If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword’; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken” (Isaiah 1:19-20 New King James Version).

Jerusalem was not willing. She would not let Jesus do what He wanted to do. Are you willing? Will you let Him? “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17 New King James Version).


If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

PRAYER POINTS: Father, forgive me for how I have been unwilling to cooperate with Your plan for my life. Holy Spirit, help me to be willing and obedient henceforth in Jesus’ name. I pray that all those who have rebelled against God will repent and give their lives to Jesus. The plan of God for their lives shall be fulfilled in Jesus’ name.

(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).

T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947
Email: cedarministryintl@yahoo.com,
Website: www.cedarministry.org