Friday, November 6th Luke 13:31-35

At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ 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! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.'” Luke 13:31-35

Let’s start by making three observations of this text that are a bit surprising. First, some Pharisees came to Jesus to warn him that Herod was looking to get rid of him. At least some of the “bad” guys are “good” guys.

Second, while we normally use masculine gender references for God, here Jesus describes God as a mother hen longing to gather her brood under her wing. If there is room in Jesus’ imagination for seeing God as a “mother”, why can’t there be such room in ours?

And third, Jerusalem, the holy city, the site of the temple and the epicenter of the promises of the faith…is also the killing ground of the prophets. Normally thought of as a place to find God, it turns out to be a place that rejects God. And will do so again when Jesus comes to town.

And yet none of this will stop Jesus. His face is set. His back is bowed. He will not and cannot be stopped until he has walked the entire length of the road set before him.

“Surprise” is an important word for the experience of the Christian faith. The good news of forgiveness, experientially, always comes as surprise. The faith is a lived experience and therefore cannot be pinned down or contained. There are always surprises – the first become last, the least and the last and the lost become the center, the values and ways of the world are turned upside down.

It won’t be long until Jerusalem will have its way with Jesus. But until then, Jesus will not be stopped.

How often does your faith surprise you? How often does your faith take you down roads you didn’t expect, into conflicts you didn’t create, across the paths of people who surprise you? “Good” people who do very bad things or “bad” people who amaze you with acts of love and service?

How often are you tempted to give up? Just throw off thoughts of faithfulness or discipleship and do your own thing? How often are you discouraged?

And yet you haven’t given up, have you? You are still here. You are reading these devotions. You are living your life. You are struggling along. You are following Jesus. Surprise, surprise, surprise – God isn’t through with you yet!

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, we hear that image of you longing to gather us like chicks beneath your wings and we want to cuddle up right there and be with you. And yet we recognize that we are all too often numbered among those who reject you and your will for us. Our faith surprises us precisely when we recognize how little control we really have. So we pray that you not give up on us, that we not give up on you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

3 Responses to “Friday, November 6th Luke 13:31-35”

  1. LJH Says:

    How appropriate to ponder this passage as we see one who was very very good doing something unthinkable (Major Hasan at Fort Hood), and long for our mother God to gather us into her arms and breath peace into our troubled hearts and minds.

  2. LC Says:

    Amen again Pastor Kerry,
    I have been down that road, I have gone off that road because I feel I have to many struggles and life isn’t fair, but like you said – I am here and reading every day. Jesus helps me when I call on him and sometimes he helps me just because he knows what I need. I am glad God isn’t finished with me yet. There is always hope. Thank you for this message.

  3. Karen DiSanto Says:

    I think we all feel like this at times…I know I do. But here we are, back at the table again, and that’s exactly where God wants us to be!

    Thank you for the reminder and the support!

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