Matthew 23:37 And Calvinism - "You Were Not Willing"

Some argue that Matthew 23:37 contradicts Calvinism because it says that Jesus desires to save some, but they "were not willing." Learn the Calvinist response.
Calvinism
Irresistible Grace
...

Quick Answer

"Your children" and "you" refer to different groups of people. Jesus desires to gather "your children," (His people), but "you" (the Scribes and the Pharisees) were unwilling.

The people who were unwilling were the Scribes and the Pharisees, not the people Jesus desired to gather.

The Argument

Some argue that Matthew 23:37 contradicts Calvinism, specifically, the doctrine of Irresistible Grace, because it says that Jesus desires to save some, but they "were not willing." The argument is that this means that God's grace can be resisted. Here is the relevant verse:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!

The Solution

The solution is simple. In the immediate previous context, Jesus is attacking the Scribes and the Pharisees for their hypocrisy and unrighteousness.

The people who were "unwilling" were the Scribes and the Pharisees, and the "children" Jesus sought to gather were His people. The phrase "your children" refers to a different group of people than the word "you" used later.

So, there is absolutely no contradiction with Calvinism or Irresistible Grace here. Jesus is not seeking to gather those who are unwilling, which are the Scribes and the Pharisees, but rather His children, whom the Scribes and the Pharisees were unwilling to allow to come to Jesus.

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