And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple.
And now there rises the question: Why did not Jesus save that city? The awful peril which He saw impending in the near future was destined to involve not the guilty alone, but the innocent as well; why then did not the Son of God avert the coming tribulation He so bitterly lamented? Why did He not do it at least for the sake of those who had shown themselves friendly to Him, the humble ones who followed Him with a sort of dumb faithfulness until the hostility of the government, which frightened the apostles, filled them also with paralyzing fear? There is no doubt that Christ was able to dispel that storm rising so black and terrible. The twelve legions of angels who were ready to save Him from capture, would, at His word, have saved Jerusalem. The myriads of the army of heaven could have turned to a retreating flight the advancing eagles of the heathen conqueror The destruction of Jerusalem belongs to the workings of that natural law in which there is, after a time, no place and no use for repentance, under which God, for some inscrutable reason, permits the innocent to suffer along with the guilty, and where no regret on the part of any one can save him from the doom of reaping precisely what the community has sown. Christ offered to the Jewish nation, as a nation, deliverance from temporal evil. There is no doubt of that. He stood ready to fulfil for them all the glorious things spoken of Zion by the prophets. Both spiritual and earthly peace lay within their reach. It was bound up in the kingdom preached and offered by Him. He promised to take them out from the realm of natural government, where fixed laws work on regardless of the cry of pain and the supplication for pity, where nothing miraculous ever interposes to avert the gathered lightning of moral retribution, where the storm of judgment breaks over the community that deserves it, even though some who are comparatively righteous must endure thereby what seems temporal wrong. He offered, I say, to redeem that Jewish world from the natural law of sin and death and inflexible justice, and lift it into the higher, supernatural realm of grace and life. But that redemption depended upon their knowing and receiving Him. And their selfishness and pride prevented them from recognizing Him. Their King and Redeemer came, but they cast Him out. They chose to be a law unto themselves. Hence that former law must have its perfect work. The hand outstretched to save the nation drifting to ruin was not grasped, and therefore that nation must whirl on and on, down the rapids and over the brink. The destruction of Jerusalem became simply a question of time. Inward corruption would sooner or later have accomplished what we are wont to regard as solely the result of external force. The fig-tree had ceased to bear fruit; and that fact was of itself a sign of the death which had already begun to work. All that was left of the glorious opportunity was the bitter consciousness that it was past Under the working of this law, the drunkard comes at last to a point where repentance is too late, and where death lies both in continued indulgence and in attempted reformation. And so with nations. The day may come to even the strongest, when on the whole it is not worth saving, when, although there are many pure patriots in it, the only thing left for it to do is to die and be blotted out of the map of the world.
(E. E. Johnson, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.