Wednesday, March 13
The Old Testament has some pretty brutal stories, and the book of Revelation is filled with harrowing images that still make their way into blockbuster horror movies, but few moments in the Bible make my hair stand on end like those episodes where Jesus gets angry.
In Luke 13:31-35, Jesus isn’t flipping over merchant’s tables and casting traders out of the temple (yet), but his words burn as he describes Jerusalem, the epicenter of the Jewish faith, as a city that murders God’s messengers.
Jesus’ sentiment here feels very close to home. If you know my parents, it may be hard to imagine that my mother and father are even capable of anger or exasperation. However, I made plenty of messes when I was growing up that left them with little recourse. And I don’t just mean the times I left my muddy shoes in the middle of the living room; I made some choices that I’m sure frustrated my mom and dad.
These days, I view those stressed moments in our past with more clarity. My parents made sacrifices to provide for my siblings and me, keep us safe, and prepare us for life’s trials. But sometimes I didn’t appreciate their gifts, avoided their protection, or dismissed their guidance. How often did they want to gather me in “as a hen gathers her brood under her wings”? At the time, my self-defeating actions must have been more difficult for them than I realized.
In this passage from Luke, Jesus laments that Jerusalem is a city blind with its own blessings, arrogant in its pursuits and skeptical of its own redeemer. Jesus has given his all and is about to sacrifice everything to save the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and yet he’s pushed away — even threatened with death. Unlike Herod, the Pharisees and the many pious people of Jerusalem, we have seen Jesus for who he is. We know his hopes and desires for us. Yes, we make messes, and — who knows — we may still exasperate him. But we are blessed with enough clarity to return to his teachings and gather under his wing. We know to greet him saying “blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Prayer: Lord, you work to heal me and lead me towards wholeness, but there are still times when I push you out and reject your help. I am sorry. Thank you for the gift of your son and the knowledge that he has paid for my sins. I will follow his guidance and listen for your will for my life. Amen.
– Wesley Gentle