As A Hen Gathers Her Chicks
“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!” Luke 13:34
Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem when He cried out these sad words. He had been warned not to go to Jerusalem, but Luke tells us that even though he knew he was facing death in Jerusalem, he kept on going. He was willing to pay the price for His message.
His heart was breaking for these people of Jerusalem – His Jerusalem! He wanted to gather them like a mother hen gathers her brood under her wings to protect them. He longed to bless His beloved Jerusalem. But they “were not willing” Luke 13:34b.
Many a parent has experienced the sorrow that Jesus had, when their hopes and dreams for their children’s welfare have been dashed. The children weren’t willing to avoid the temptations that drew them away. A beloved child has rebelled has run away into a lifestyle that would destroy them. And the distraught parents can only watch as their beautiful child is corrupted. The parents do everything they can to try to save their wayward child –but their best efforts aren’t enough. The child is not willing.
I’ve been told by those who have visited Jerusalem that there is a small chapel on the Mount of Olives that overlooks the whole city. And over the chapel window that opens to the panorama of all Jerusalem below, these verses are written: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem how often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings: but you were not willing!.” And beside the chapel window stands a statue of a hen with her brood of chicks under her wings.
Why were the people of Jerusalem not willing to accept the love and protection of their Messiah? Why did they refuse to let Him take them under His wings? Scripture tells us that at this time in history, the nation of Israel was overrun with political and religious corruption and legalism. Jesus’ message of love and grace threatened the status quo. His call might have messed up the power structure and the wealth of Israel’s religious hierarchy. In the eternal battle between good and evil-the religious community of Jesus’ day weren’t willing to choose the good – to choose their Messiah! Not willing to let Him take them under His wings. Not willing to let Him change them!
Jesus cries out to us with the same message that He had for His beloved Jerusalem! He also loves us and wants to take us under His wings. He wants to save us from our selfishness and our hate and our legalism. He’s waiting for our answer. But are we willing to let Him change us, mold us, shake up our status quo? We say we want Him to take us under His wings. We say all of the right words. But are we willing? Are we willing to pay the price?