Posted on Sun, Feb 24, 2013
February 24, 2013
Second Sunday in Lent
Luke 13:31-35 “Jesus is Our Protection”
The Lament over Jerusalem
31 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, ‘Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.’ 32 He said to them, ‘Go and tell that fox for me, “Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. 33 Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed away from Jerusalem.” 34 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 35 See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” ’
How many texts really show us the compassion and heart of God? This is one of those texts.
The Pharisees are almost always portrayed at being Jesus’ greatest antagonists, but in this text, we learn that a few have softened their hearts to Jesus’ teaching and have actually come to the aid of Jesus, warning him of King Herod’s plans to kill him.
It is not like Jesus doesn’t already know what is in Herod’s heart, and he calmly tells them, “‘Go and tell that fox for me, “Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work.’”
Jesus isn’t concerned about Herod’s plans, as Herod doesn’t have any power over God’s plan or the timing of its culmination. Evil, even if powered by the forces of a powerful army cannot defeat righteousness and mercy!
Did you also find that little addition by Luke in Jesus’ response? … “And on the third day I finish my work.’” This is a foreshadow of Jesus rising from the dead on the third day, after Jesus has announced from the cross in his last breaths, “It Is Finished!” On the cross, by giving his life, he has fulfilled the Promise of God to carry all the burdens of the world with him and let our burdens and sin, die with him… so that we can receive the promise of eternal life and rise with him on the third day!
Jesus still has work to do, and not even the plans of a sick mind will thwart Jesus’ plans, he is about healing, comforting, teaching and making God’s mercy known to a hurting world.
Then, there are the famous words that totally expose the heart of God, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!”
Jesus has come to save a persecuted people. Jesus has come to save and free a persecuted world. The power of evil is so evident in the suffering of the people in Jesus’ day. The power of evil is so evident in the suffering of people today, think of Syria, Mali, North Korea and so many other places there is war and suffering.
Jesus was sent to destroy that evil and replace it with a true sense of HOPE. Only if he could act like a mother hen, or any mother who is determined to protect her children… but the people would still be rebellious, and many would probably even question Jesus (and still continue to persecute Jesus out of fear that Jesus is actually their King, and it is Jesus who is in control, not stubborn human beings) if he did become like a shield to protect them… (Especially today!)
But oh if Jesus could, he would rather protect us from all that causes suffering, but our hearts run from God’s protection and we run to always find ways to reject God and think we can save/protect ourselves.
Jesus finishes with a simple prophesy to the devoted group of Pharisees that have come to warn him… Jesus is saying, “thank you for the warning. The next time I will see you will be when I do enter the Holy city of Jerusalem, and you will see me be welcomed like King David (Palm Sunday)… but even then, the people will be clueless as to whom they are welcoming.
They will want the sword wielding Kind David who will kick out the aliens, restore the Temple and make Israel strong again like in the days of old when the people of Israel would rather trust a king chosen by them, rather than trust their true God and King, their Messiah.
During Lent it is our chance to recognize Jesus as our savior, rather than stoning the one sent to save us. The choice is ours; to open our hearts and minds to really think about how we have run away from our God, or daily reject God because we keep thinking we can do better on our own, and we didn't need any God from heaven, or anywhere else?
But, no matter what we decide, and sadly more often than not, humankind has chosen to run from God, or stone God’s prophets, the heart of God is always directed to save us, to protect us, as a hen would cover and protect her chicks, even if we are being threatened from something as terrible as a snarling fox. Amen.
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