At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.”
He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day — for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!
“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! Look, your house is left to you desolate.
– Luke 13:31-34, NIV
What do you do when you see loved ones falling from the nest? Watching my younger brothers chasing the party lifestyle was like standing on the sidewalk watching a house slowly burn. I learned people rise or fall by their choices.
Jesus chooses to love despite the danger and therein lies redemption. Even Christ’s enemies warned of the perils waiting for Him in Jerusalem. The Holy City beckons Christ like an executioner silently calling out, “Dead man walking!” The cross awaits Him, and Jesus knows it.
Death foreshadows the Lord’s purpose. Christ’s determination to love people and do God’s will sheds the warnings.
As Jesus approaches the Holy City, He casts His eyes upon it and sees their blind disregard for His offer of grace. Through the eye of prophecy, Jesus knows that their rejection of His mission would end with their destruction in 70AD. In terrible judgment, the Romans crushed the people and reduced the city to rubble. But it is Christ’s reaction to this revelation that is most telling.
Jesus shows compassion even as he unveils the consequences of humanity’s denial of His Messianic destiny. He cries out in verse 34, “…How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings…”
Jesus harmonizes with the Father’s devotion revealed in Deuteronomy 32:10-11, “He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions.”
God longs for His people, longs for you and I. Christ personifies this love even to the point of death. He wants to gather us under His wings.
I remember a tough period in my son’s life when he was about age 17. He had dropped out of High School and been gone from the house for over a week. I agonized with worry as I heard rumors of various places he had been. How I longed to get him home safely. There was no rest while he was gone.
Finally, my wayward boy called. “Stay right where you are and I’m on my way to pick you up,” I said. He looked and smelled like a homeless person. He was gaunt, and his eyes glazed over. It broke me to see him like this, but at least my son was home.
It took over three years for him to recover and pay off the various legal fines he incurred from his mischief. Today he is a graduate and living on his own. But he travelled a long-jagged road. God met the longing of this dad’s heart.
God cares for us like a mother eagle cares for an eaglet that escapes the nest too soon. God longs for each of us far more than I longed for my son. Jesus walked death row to return us to the Father’s care because His heart throbbed with the longing of God’s heart. The way of the Eagle is to hover over us until we come home.
Oh Lord my God, guide me to choose the path that reveals Your great love. Give me the courage to walk in the way of suffering that reveals Your compassion. May I not be deterred by danger nor intimidated by rejection. Use me to gather chicks under your wings.
Dave Holland pastored churches for 38 years before retiring in Destin. He recently released his new devotional/Bible study based on the Gospel of Luke titled “Extraordinary Jesus: Ignite Your Season of Miracles.” You can get a copy of this book from his website, DaveHolland.org, or at Amazon.com. Pastor Dave is available to preach and teach in churches and conferences. Contact him at DavidvHolland54@gmail.com.