“Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You kill the prophets, you stone the messengers God has sent you! How many times I wanted to put my arms around all your people, just as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not let me.” Luke 13:34
Don’t you love the picture of a newborn baby with its crumpled little face, red from crying, and its wrinkly, mottled skin as it takes its first breaths? I do. Having a baby was a life-enhancing experience for me and I still find it deeply moving to see these little miracles in photos and films. Maybe it brings back that incredible moment of instant tenderness and fierce love for a little one that I’d never seen, who, would remain in my heart and forever change my perception of human beings.
Did Jesus have any different a perception of human beings who killed messengers God sent to help them and who didn’t even trust Him, His only Son? His very tender feelings for Jerusalem expressed in the illustration of a hen gathering her brood safely under her wings to protect them, reflected His own love and concern for Israel, which remained far greater than any mother will ever know for her children. He yearned for her spiritual rebirth, for all of her people.
His palpable anguish and exasperation in the verse today are expressed in the words “but you would not let me”. Imagine knowing that you have the power over life and death and are even willing to die for the people, but their pride and rebelliousness have so hardened their hearts that they reject your teachings and ignore your pleas to make peace with God and be saved.
Would we respond to Jesus any differently?
Jesus is “the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in (him) will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in (him) will never die.” (John 11:25)
God has given us life on earth and has made possible eternal life with Him through His Son. Jesus has made the way for all people to make peace with God through His sacrifice on the cross; we can choose to follow Him and learn from His teachings, or we, too, can overlook His importance in our lives. Yet, how we live our life and what we do with what He’s given us counts.
There are many religions but only Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life” and “no-one comes to the Father except through him.” John 14:6 God has said, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you. So we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6)
A mother may try to protect her children from falls and harm, but only Jesus can protect and save them eternally.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, please remove all rebellion and pride in me that hardens my heart and make me ignore Your teachings or feel threatened by accounts of Your healings and miracles instead of rejoicing at them, ultimately blinding me from recognising my need of You. Amen