Sunday, February 28, 2010

“I would have liked…” (Luke 13:34).

S-1172 02/28/10 2SIL/3C (O) #429; (S) #554 L.S. #157; #725LSB #308; (C) #154

Texts: Jeremiah 26: 8-15; Philippians 3:17-4:1; Luke 13:31-35

Theme: “I would have liked…” (Luke 13:34).

Question: “Have you said, I would have liked…?”


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our 2nd Sunday in Lent is from the Gospel Lesson: “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 would not!” (Luke 13:34).

Introduction: In Nomine IESU

People of God, chosen and beloved today we continue our Lenten journey. As we do, we meet Jesus just outside the city of Jerusalem speaking very gracious and tender words. This text is riveting and moving, because it shows us the care and compassion Jesus has for all people. As we join Jesus and His disciples on their way to Jerusalem and the cross, we pause for a while and listen to Him as He reveals His deepest yearning with words—words filled with emotions and affections.

Listen attentively please to these words and see, feel and taste what Jesus is expressing here: “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 would not!” (Luke 13:34).

We meet the Savior on Tuesday of Holy Week uttering words full of deep pathos. The Pharisees are cold and hard, the Pharisees are planning and plotting to kill Him, but the heart of Jesus is filled with the deepest sadness because of their stubbornness and the coming judgment.

With the repetitive words “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem” we see the heart of God. We behold the tender mercy, love, care, concern and compassion He has on those who are lost, and are not under His protection. More than once He wanted to bring together the city of peace—that is killing the prophets and now preparing to add one more death to the list, but they wouldn’t.

These words “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem” tell us that Jesus on more than one occasion reached out to the people of the city, but they would not listen to Him. They ignored His pleas. They ignored His cries. They ignored Him as the heaven-sent Savior and the God of all mercy who came to save them. But Jesus didn’t give up even though He knew it will do no good to call them, He still reaches out in love to them, until His voice is actually stilled and the blood is drained from His veins. PAUSE.

What image Jesus gives for us. I would have loved to gather you like a hen gathers her brood under her wings. In the Gospel of Matthew on the same subject, we are told that when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, tears streamed down His face as He wept over a city that refused to be saved (Mt. 23:37). Can there be any more comforting scene than a hen gathering her brood under her wings? Out in the world there is danger. Out in the world there is death. Out in the world there is destruction and damnation. The fox is out to destroy and kill the hen, but the chicks are safe under her wings.

This is what Jesus came to do for all people. But so many ran away from Him then, and run away from Him even now. Even though He opens His heart and invites all to come and find shelter, refuge, sanctuary, man still ignores the loving voice of the Savior. Jesus said “How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings!” And that is still the Messiah’s longing this morning. PAUSE.

“How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings!” (13:34). Notice the astonishing simile He uses. He compares Himself to a mother hen clucking to call her chicks back into safety under her wings. That is a contrast to what Jesus called the foxy King Herod. “Some Pharisees came and said to Him, ‘Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill You.’ Jesus’ answer was ‘Go and tell that fox’ that he has no power to kill Me.” There is no way the Messiah can die till He has finished His work in Jerusalem (13:31-32). The humor is obvious. Foxes love to kill and eat little chicks, but little chicks are safe if they gather under the wings of their mother.

My beloved in the Lord, the voice of the Alpha Center (a pregnancy crisis center, which I have been riding my Bike-for-Life event of 100 miles from Armour, to Sioux Falls for the last 12 years), has for the last 25 years been crying out to all who would listen: “I would have loved to end all abortions in SD and the USA. I would have loved to have saved more babies. I would have loved for you to know the little thing in your womb is more than a blob of tissue but you would not listen.” How tragic! How sad!

Jesus came to save more than just 800 babies that are killed through abortion every year in SD. Jesus came to do more than just feed the hungry, heal the sick, open the sight of the blind, and raise the dead. He came to save the world from sin, death and hell. He came to offer His life’s blood as the ultimate sacrifice for all of humanity. The Father sent His Only Begotten Son into our flesh to die, that death would certainly die. PAUSE

As you have been gathered here to worship and pray and give thanks this morning, some of you are facing terrible situations. Things have gone wrong, as they often did in the history of Jerusalem. But the Messiah, the Son of God still loves you, and calls for you to come in out of the danger under the shelter of His wings. There you will be safe, and the Holy Spirit will teach you to pray for each situation that you face. In time your prayers will reach out to be a blessing to people all over the world.

Jesus, the heaven-sent Messiah, like a hen offers warmth, comfort, and protection under His sheltering wings. Jerusalem rejected Him and nailed Him to a cross. But He never stopped loving them. He cries out to us as well. The world threatens to destroy us. Enemies lurk everywhere. We live vulnerable lives, however self-sufficient we consider ourselves. Often we reject the advances of the mother hen. But God continues to love us. That death on the cross availed for our sins. Repentant, we find ourselves securely gathered under the protecting wings of the Savior. Nourished and cared for, we grow and gain strength to live for Him in a dangerous world. PAUSE.

Some years ago there was a shipwreck off the coast of the Pacific Northwest.  A crowd of fishermen in a nearby village gathered to watch the ship as it was smashed on the rocks.  A lifeboat was sent to the rescue, and after a terrific struggle the rescuers came back with all of the shipwrecked sailors but one.  “There was no room in the lifeboat for him, so we told him to stay by the ship and someone would come back for him,” shouted a young man.  “Who will come with me?” Shouted a young man.  Just then a little old lady cried out, “Don’t go.  Jim, my boy, don’t go!  You are all I have left.  Your father was drowned in the sea; your brother William sailed away and we’ve never heard from him; and now if you are lost, I’ll be left alone.  Oh, Jim, please, please, don’t go!” Jim listened patiently to his mother’s pleading, then said, “Mother, I must go!  It is my duty.  I must go!”  The onlookers watched as the men in the lifeboat fought their way toward the wreck.  Anxiously Jim’s mother wept and prayed.  They saw the boat start back, a frail little shell tossed about by the angry waves.  At last it came close enough to hear, and they shouted, “Did you get him?” And Jim shouted back, “Yes, and tell mother it’s my brother William!”

Jesus came to earth to reach out to those drawing and dying in sin. Jesus came to bring about salvation and healing for the soul. Today, He reaches out to us with His outstretched arms from the cross and pleads with us to find our comfort and protections under His wings of love. Jesus knew the heart of man in its evil and fallen state, and this does not cause Him to shrink away with fear but to embrace the lost, hurting, evil world with the Father's great love. Jesus would gather His accusers and deniers even as a hen gathers her chicks - with tenderness. What we needed was not a man made love, but the Love of God, clothed in our flesh - we needed Jesus... He, the ultimate love, the ultimate Gift - God and man in one person - hanging from the Cross!

Does the Hen gather her brood? Yes, from the outstretched arms on the Cross. All of Jesus’ preaching and all His miracles needed to be punctuated by the Cross, the Tomb, and the Resurrection that only He could bring. During Lent we look at ourselves, the chicks in need of the Hen, helpless and defenseless, stupid and wanting to waddle away on our own, where cold and damp, starvation and fear, where foxes gather to devour. What we need we do not know - we peck at the ground, not looking up toward heaven! Ah, but from heaven, He answers us. He deals with that Fox by becoming the ultimate sacrificial Lamb on the altar of the cross.

Saints of God, let foxes stealthily gather, let the cold winds blow, let our own fears grow... He is here... to seek and to save the least, the last and the lost. He is here... to protect and to finally gather the chicks as a hen. We ask the question of the Psalmist, What can man do to me?! The answer: IN THE ARMS OF JESUS NOTHING BECAUSE WE ARE LOVED AND SAVED. AMEN.

Now the peace…

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