Matthew 23:39 (Blessed is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord)

Recall that after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem and cleansing of the temple the previous two days, Jesus was met and soundly rejected on Tuesday of Passion Week by the religious leaders who sought in various ways, though in vain, to ensnare Him in something He might say so they could deliver Him up to the rule of the Roman governor who had the authority to put Him to death (Luk 20:20).  In response, Jesus has now soundly rejected them with seven-plus woes for their hypocrisy that would result in their own damnation and the destruction of Jerusalem, and especially the destruction of the temple which they falsely supposed God would not forsake.  In this same way, many today suppose He will not forsake the living temples of human hearts in which He now dwells, in spite of the fact that He forsook both the tabernacle at Shiloh and Solomon’s temple, and then Herod’s magnificent temple as well; cf. 2Co 13:1.  Jesus says in Mat 23:38-39 that worldly Jerusalem’s House was being left desolate because she could not see Him for who He was and would not recognize the nature of the true salvation He came to bring by which means only she might become free indeed from the bondage of sin that is the source of all her other bondage.  For how long does Jesus now say she would not see Him and her desolate condition continue?  See Mat 23:39.  What does this help us to understand about the only thing that will remove the spiritual blindness of those in a worldly Jerusalem that will allow the presence of God’s Spirit to return and abide within them and their house so as to no longer be desolate?  See 2Co 3:14-16.

In light of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem two days earlier—not with horse and chariot or with the sword and bow of war, but as the humble king, mounted on a donkey—what is the significance that Jesus says the worldly Jerusalem would not see Him until she says “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”?  Recall that this was the acclamation of praise with which His followers greeted Jesus and with which the Pharisees took issue; see Luk 19:39.  Also recall that these were from the last words of the Hallel (Psalms 113-118) that all Jews knew by heart and were sung as songs of joy and praise at Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles, Hanukkah, and the new moons, and which Jesus and His disciples would have sung at the last supper (Mat 26:30).  The songs acknowledged God as the One from whom salvation comes—especially to the meek and humble, which was how the Jews saw themselves among the Gentile nations from whom they were seeking deliverance.  Notice also that these words from Psa 118:26 are proceeded by the words in Psa 118:22-23 that Jesus in Mat 21:42 had earlier that day spoken to the religious leaders, saying “the stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief cornerstone”.  Again, what does this remind us about the nature of God’s true salvation that Jesus brought, which a worldly Jerusalem cannot see until she acknowledges that God’s ways are higher and better than those of the kings and kingdoms of this world to which she looks instead?  Cf. Mat 20:25-28.  In what way might many Christians today be guilty of a similar thing by seeking political solutions to our nation’s problems instead of seeking the necessary spiritual solutions by turning people’s hearts to the Lord?

What is the significance of “the name of the Lord”, especially in light of Jesus’ repeated desire expressed in the present context to gather Jerusalem’s children as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings?  See Pro 18:10; cf. Psa 20:1-9, 124:1-8, Joel 2:32, Zep 3:12 and think: in what sense does a person’s name represent the person by communicating something about the nature of that person?  See Gen 16:13, Exo 3:13-14, Rev 19:12-13; cf. Jer 7:9-14.  Besides the protection given to those who will take refuge in the name of the Lord, what is the additional significance to their enemies of a person coming “in the name of the Lord”?  See 1Sa 17:45-47, Psa 118:10-12.  In what fullest of senses did Jesus come “in the name of the Lord” that makes Him such a strong tower to which the righteous may run for refuge and also destroy all of His enemies?  See Exo 23:20-21 and consider how these words were ultimately fulfilled in Jesus; see also Isa 9:6, Joh 1:1, 8:23-24,42,58, 10:30-33, 14:6-9, 17:6,11-12, Act 2:21,36, Rom 10:9,13, Rev 19:16.  What does Jesus’ divine Name that assures His final victory teach us about another sense in which even His enemies must eventually say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” so as to recognize Him for who He really is?  Cf. Phi 2:9-11, Rev 1:7[1].  And again, by what means did He obtain that exalted Name that is an impregnable tower of protection for those who take refuge in it and that assures all of His enemies will be vanquished and bow in subjection?  See Phi 2:6-8.  What does this remind us about the way of the cross as the only means to true lasting victory over evil?  Cf. Mat 16:24-25.  What does it also remind us about the nature of true salvation that men shall by no means find until they say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord?”

 


1. Christ will not be seen again till he come in the clouds, and every eye shall see him; and then, even they, who, when time was, rejected and pierced him, will be glad to come in among his adorers; then every knee shall bow to him, even those that had bowed to Baal; and even the workers of iniquity will then cry, Lord, Lord, and will own, when his wrath is kindled, that blessed are all they that put their trust in him. Would we have our lot in that day with those that say, Blessed is he that cometh? let us be with them now, with them that truly worship, and truly welcome, Jesus Christ.  Matthew Henry

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