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Luke 13 v 34. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!”


In spite of his challenge to Herod’s threats, Jesus needed to move on. He was headed for Jerusalem. When Jesus died, his death would be a full and public death, an execution, in the City of David, by the hands of the very people he came to save. It would give added meaning to the words in chapter 13 verses 26 and 27.


Jerusalem had a long reputation for killing the prophets whom God sent to her. Jerusalem, being the capital, symbolises the spirit or attitude of the nation as a whole. There is tremendous pathos in our Lord’s words, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem …..”. The way previous prophets were rejected by God’s own people is alluded to in Matthew 5 v 12.


The emotional weight of v 34 is so well captured by the late New Testament commentator William Hendrikson that I quote his paragraph verbatim. “Luke” p 711)

“The simile Jesus uses is unforgettable. A chick hawk suddenly appears, its wings folded, its eyes concentrated on the farmyard, its ominous claws ready to grasp a chick. Or, to change the figure, a storm is approaching. Lightning flashes become more frequent, the rumbling of the thunder grows louder and follows the electrical discharges more and more closely. Raindrops develop into a shower, the shower into a cloudburst. In either case what happens is that with an anxious and commanding “cluck, cluck, cluck!” the hen calls her chicks, conceals them under her protecting wings, and rushes off to a place of shelter. “How frequently,” says Jesus, “I have similarly yearned to gather you. But you refused to come.” Did they really think that his threats were empty, his predictions of approaching woe ridiculous?”

End of quote.


But the Saviour knew before he came into the world that he would be rejected. Nevertheless, He still came. The fact that He knew they would reject Him did not deter him either from coming, or calling them back to Himself time and time again. But they simply refused to be saved. If one day he has to refuse their pleas to be let into the feast (vs, 25, 26, 27) it will be because they first refused his pleas over and over again. This is the other side of the coin. He rejects them because they continually rejected Him.

And so with us. Although God is Sovereign in all He does, He does not disrespect the free will He bestowed upon us as human beings. While on the one hand we know that it is God alone who can open our eyes and make us willing to be saved, nevertheless we are also told that our stubborn refusals are moral decisions which harden our hearts and consequently end in judgement.

May we all hear his voice calling us, and may we have willing hearts to return to the One who made us.