Sunday 21 February 2016

Bible Book:

“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!” (v. 34)

Luke 13:31-35 Sunday 21 February 2016

Psalm: Psalm 27


The opening phrase of today's passage ("At that very hour …")invites us to look at the preceding verses. Jesus had been teachingin towns and villages on his way to Jerusalem (Luke13:22), a journey that had begun when "the days drew near forhim to be taken up" (Luke9:51). The teaching concluded with the prophecy that peoplefrom everywhere will eat in the kingdom of God and that "some arelast who will be first, and some are first who will be last" (Luke13:29-30). This reversal was a central theme of Jesus' teachingand both the Pharisees and Herod could have understood it to be achallenge to them.

It was 'at that very hour' that the Pharisees approached Jesus.Whether they were genuine in their warning about Herod or using thestory as a ploy to move Jesus on is debated; the important thing,however, is that Jesus went to Jerusalem not at the behest ofothers but to continue to fulfil God's purpose. When Jesus says, "Imust be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to bekilled outside of Jerusalem" (v. 33) he is pointing to a sense ofdivine necessity that is also expressed in Luke24:7, 44. The reference to prophets being killed in Jerusalemevokes the stories of Uriah (Jeremiah 26:20-23) and Jeremiah himself (Jeremiah 38:4-6); it also points forwards tothe stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr (Acts7:54-60).

Jesus' response to this was to lament over the city using theimage of a hen gathering her brood under her wings (v. 34). Similarimages are found in Ruth 2:12, some of the Psalms (including 17:8 and 36:7), and Isaiah31:5.

His statement at the start of verse 35, "See, your house is leftto you", echoes God's words in Jeremiah 22:5, "this house shall become adesolation". Yet the passage ends with a prophecy that the peoplewill say, "Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord"(see Psalm 118:26). This happened on the first PalmSunday (Luke 19:38) just before Jesus wept overJerusalem (Luke 19:41-44), but it probably also looks tothe final coming of Jesus (see Acts1:11).

To Ponder

  • What cities other than Jerusalem have rejected prophets?
  • How would you share with someone else your understanding ofGod's purpose for your life and the life of the world? In whatways, if any, would you talk about 'a divine necessity'?
  • How does the image of a hen gathering her brood under her wingsspeak to you?


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