“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Matt. 23:37 ESV)
Are you familiar with this lament made by Jesus as he entered the city of Jerusalem for the last time? It was a Sunday and he would be crucified at the end of the week.
Have you ever seen or experienced the image he is describing? Do you understand what he is saying?
I’m sure many of you do. Especially those who have spent some time on a farm or have raised some chickens.
I saw it often while spending time on my grandparents farms.
I remember watching a hen in my grandomther’s back yard whose chickens were scattered all over the yard enjoying themselves. The hen sensed some danger. (It might have been me.) She immediately went to the middle of the yard and began clucking loudly while spreading out her wings.
Her chickens reacted immediately. They all ran to her and without hesitation went under her wings. They seemed to all arrive at once. As soon as they were under her, she folded her wings around them and sat down on them to protect them.
She didn’t chase after them. She clucked and they came running to her.
Like that hen, Jesus calls us through his word. He will not force us. He calls us and it is up to us to listen and to respond to his call. The response of faith.