”At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.” 32 He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ 33 In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem! 34 “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, and you were not willing. 35 Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’[b]” Luke 13.31-35
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” This is what we will say upon Jesus’ return. This will be the proclamation from our lips, the lips of those who followed God.
When I was working in the middle years of my ministry, and leading mission trips with the homeless, we began to call them “the blessed.” Now whether they liked that or not, or whether it just make us feel better or not, this is how we saw them — as blessed. Not blessed in the sense that they had a house or clothes or security, but blessed in the sense that they were unseen and forgotten children of God. Their status in God’s eyes was blessed, i.e precious. And so, we would refer to them as the “blessed.”
When Jesus is telling about his journey to Jerusalem, how Herod wants to kill him, and how the city to which he is traveling will most likely be one to his death, he aches for a city which he considers “blessed.” Blessed, anointed, made special by God. It’s evidenced in his crying out — “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, and you were not willing.” He says with affection, “How I long to gather you as a hen gathers her chick under her wings.” Jesus loves this city of God. They are chosen, set a part, and blessed. Although they will reject the Messiah, they will are still children of God.
Then Jesus refers to himself using the same terminology as he will suffer, die and leave this earth and how people who will see him in the future upon his return, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Jesus is “blessed.” He is the one who is chosen by God to redeem the world.
One of my favorite Psalms is 103.1-5. It says, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your sins, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (ESV). It’s a reminder today to “bless” the Lord. He who is “blessed” deserves our praise for he has done great things for his people.
Will you bless the Lord will be today? In light of who Jesus is, what he has done, and how he has rescued all who are willing, will you bless his name? Come before his altar today, offer a shout of praise to the one who offered his life as a ransom for many.
”O Lord God, I bless you. You are blessed and you call your people blessed. You have saved us by your might. Even when we fall away your love remains steadfast. Come now, Holy Lord, return to your people. Call us to your name that we might glorify you and call you blessed. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen