Second Sunday in Lent 2016
February 21, 2016
Rev. Mark M. Vickers
Luke 13:31-35New International Version (NIV) 31 At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.” 32 He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ 33 In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem! 34 “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, and you were not willing. 35 Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’[a]”
There are times in our lives that our families present us with issues we wish we could run away from; issues we want to ignore and cast out of our memory. Then, there are times that we are confronted in our families with issues that we never want to let go of. Issues and situations that make us who we are, are contained within both of these scenarios.
In short, it is the bad and the good life and family situations that create our existence.
As Christians, we are molded by our secular families and by our Godly family. We are molded and shaped by earthly lives and scriptural stories. As we move forward in our Lenten journey, we continue to hear stories that shape not only our lives but Jesus’ life as well. Why should we be concerned with Jesus’ life? Because it forms the way in which we live our lives!
The story in Luke this morning is a rather complicated political story based around the context that the political governing structure of the time was aimed at eliminating Jesus and His ministry. Herod especially was concerned that Jesus was going to upset the political realm of what he and his family had worked so hard to establish, thus creating havoc in a somewhat stable world. Herod and the other political leaders of the time were concerned that this ‘Kingdom of God’ was a Kingdom that would disrupt their power and ultimate governing rule.
The initial response of Jesus in this text is not that gentle, compassionate, and understanding Jesus response. It is a rather blatant and argumentative response to the outspoken Pharisees when He calls Herod “the fox” and instructs them (the Pharisees) to tell him that He (Jesus) was going to continue the work He had started, “casting out demons, healing those who are sick,” and maintaining the presence of God in the midst of anxiety.
Not only was this a word of instruction to the Pharisees who brought Him the message, but it was a message to those who were living in Jerusalem at the time! Jesus reminds us that within the city of Jerusalem, among the political upheaval, there was also spiritual upheaval in that, the inhabitants of Jerusalem had not followed the teachings of Jesus and His love which he showed them. In His strong lament upon Jerusalem, Jesus is clear that His mission for them to follow Him and the Kingdom of God was absolutely necessary, “How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gather her brood under her wings, and you were not willing.” (Luke 13:34)
Hence, we hear this morning the same message proclaimed to our ears, that Christ wants to gather us under His wings and nurture us and care for us in an all compassionate way. In the midst of our human secular families and in the midst of our attempt at Godly living, we still need to be gathered under the care and the “wings” of Christ.
Especially in the midst of our Lenten reflection of ourselves we need to hear these words of reminder that God, through Christ, in the midst of His presence in our lives, desires to put us under His wings and care for us. Yet, we are constantly resisting and refusing that love by our simple human desires and actions. Part of being a Lenten student means to look deep within yourself to places that are not always pleasant, but in doing so, remembering that God in Christ Jesus wants us to be in His presence.
So even in the midst of our secular lives and learning how to live a holy life in the shadowy midst of the Cross, Jesus desires our presence. Thus in this Lenten journey we must be like those in Jerusalem and begin to shed our desires for the earthly kingdoms of this world and strive to be a resident of God’s Holy Kingdom.
In doing so, we must find strength for the journey. Come, let us eat at the table of the ultimate energy and fuel, in order that we can live in the Kingdom of God.
AMEN and AMEN