Matthew 23:37 and TULIP
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

Arminian view: This shows that the Jews had a free choice to accept or reject Christ. Grace was not irresistible. God gives all the option to be saved.

Calvinist view: Such a view makes grace dependent on the will of man. Also, "Jerusalem" here means not individual Jews, but the Jewish leadership, who were the ones who killed prophets, and this is who is specified in the previous passages. The "children" are those who do not hear Jesus' message because of the Jewish leadership, who "would not" let the people hear Christ's message.


The initial Calvinist comment makes much the same assumption we have covered in the link below - no one would have understood "grace" to have been ineffectual or failed simply because someone did not accept it.

And what of identifying "Jerusalem" with the Jewish leadership? The problem with this identification is that Luke places this lament in an entirely different context that has nothing to do with the Pharisees being condemned. Of course one may argue that Jesus made the saying twice in different contexts; on the other hand, Matthew is clearly a compiler of Jesus' teachings and also clearly dischronologizes many of Jesus' teachings and arranges them topically. A connection between "Jerusalem" and the Jewish leadership cannot be based on such a tenuous connection with certainty.

However, the telling point here is that the Pharisees and scribes were not the "Jewish leadership" in Jerusalem at all -- the Sadducees were. The Pharisees were a layman's movement and had not held political power in Jerusalem since the Herods took over (though like any class with power, they obviously had political influence).

At the same time, nowhere in the text is it shown that the Pharisees ever tried to stop people from hearing Jesus, or that the leadership in Jerusalem did either, until the time of the Crucifixion. Finally, Jesus elsewhere condemns cities like Chorazin and Bethsaida which obviously have no connection to the "Jewish leadership".

The Calvinist equation of "Jerusalem" with the Jewish leadership is therefore suspect, and does nothing to refute the general Arminian understanding that God gave the residents of Jerusalem as a whole the chance to be saved.

-JPH

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