“Jerusalem, Jerusalem … how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”
Surprise, surprise! Some Pharisees came to Jesus to warn him. They didn’t want any trouble in their area. Trouble in their territory would affect their status, their prized positions. So they urged him to “go somewhere else.”
But Jesus wasn’t about to be rushed, or to bend to the Pharisees’ wishes. He was journeying toward Jerusalem. He had to go there. He knew that death awaited him there, and he had ministry work to do along the way. His mission included driving out demons and healing people as he headed resolutely toward Jerusalem.
Knowing he’d be killed there as other prophets had been, Jesus spoke of his love for his people. He used the image of a hen who gathers her chicks under her wings. It’s a perfect picture of protection. I recall seeing hens do that on a farm whenever a dog would come too close to the chicken coop.
Jesus’ lament shows his sorrow for sinners—Jerusalem’s children. Their unwillingness to accept him would lead to judgment and desolation. Then, using words from Psalm 118, he pointed to the day when the enemy will be defeated. There will be rejoicing for all who have accepted Christ’s offer of protection, the offer of salvation in his name.
Today is the day to repent. Unlike the Pharisees, do not tell Jesus to go away!
Jesus, thank you for your willingness and commitment to go to Jerusalem to die. Thank you for your compassion. Amen.
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