31: “At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to Him, ‘Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.’” – Herod had killed many, including John the Baptist, but the Pharisees were not worried about Jesus’ safety. They were attempting to derail his ministry by instilling fear and hoping that Jesus would flee for His life.
32: “He said to them, ‘Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow…’” – Jesus is being a bit ‘foxy’ himself for He knows that the Pharisees would not be running to Herod with a message, but He wanted them to know that He would follow through with God’s plans and finish what had been started.
34a: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it!” – Jerusalem, the capital city and the center of their religious world, had become a symbol of religious bureaucracy, inflexible and rigid to ideas of change and transformation.
34b: “How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” – Consider the power of this maternal side of God’s love…desiring, above all else, to shelter and protect us. Yet, we continually attempt to leave His protective arms in order to exert our free will in satisfying our own perceived needs.
35: “See, your house is left to you…” – We live in judgment for what we create.
Points to Contemplate:
Are you easily derailed?
As you move through the ministry-path that God has called you to follow, are you easily swayed and turned away? Do you allow fear and selfish concerns to decide for you what your next step will be? When you have pushed the envelope a little farther than you had expected, when your comfort zone or the comfort zone of those around you is challenged, do you turn aside and allow the opposition to have their way? What steps can you take to insure that you are sticking to God’s plan for your life and not giving in to the fox that is nipping at your heels?
Are you promoting change? Or are you clinging to the walls, bricks, and pediments of religious bureaucracy and tradition for safety? What can you do to insure that your church is not killing “the prophets and stoning those who are sent to it?” Can your ministry truly help transform the world if it is focusing strictly on structure and tradition? A ministry based in Christ is a ministry about changing lives – how can this be done in an environment that is focused on maintaining the status quo and perpetuating “the way it has always been done?” Is your church a “Jerusalem” that Jesus is shaking His head towards?
Do you allow God to gather you under His protective wing? Do you remember times when you have experienced God’s sheltering love? Was it when you were young, running safe and secure through the hallways and passages of your childhood church? Were you at a youth retreat experiencing God’s love through nature and fellowship? Were you in His arms when friends from your church sent you cards, letters, and phone calls during a time of illness or loss?
In what ways do you leave God’s loving embrace? Is it when you venture outside His realm and attempt to do things on your own? As you seek fulfillment from the world, are you ever satisfied? Do you feel more secure when you have more money or a better home? Or are you still fearful and worried? As you exert your free will, do you see how the choices you make strictly for your selfish needs are prone to add stress and pressure to your life? On the other hand, when you follow God’s lead and make decisions to deny yourself and work, instead, at the building of His kingdom, is there more peace and happiness in your life? Are these clues that God desires “to gather you… as a hen gathers her brood under her wings?”Are you willing to be gathered? Promises of the Gospel:God has given us free will and with that we can choose to follow any life-style we please. When we choose to fulfill our own desires and focus entirely on the Self, we have, in fact, turned from God. We have stepped out into the wilderness rejecting God’s love and His desire to keep us from harm. Jesus, in His discussion with the Pharisees, illustrates both a life that is focused on following God’s plan, “I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow…” and an amazing element of God’s love – a protective love as maternal and committed to our well-being as any we could possibly need. The choice is ours.