Summary: Will we gather under Jesus’ wings?
“I’d Like to See You Make Me!”
By: Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN
Jim is a man in his late sixties.
He still works hard at his job, and worries about the ebb and flow of money that comes in.
It causes him to have many sleepless nights.
But what really causes Jim to worry is his daughter and her children.
His daughter is in and out of drug treatment programs, and long ago she left her three children with Jim and his wife.
Now that his wife has passed away, it’s only Jim.
His daughter calls about twice a year.
His daughter’s oldest girl, Sarah, is around sixteen…
…and she’s beginning to remind Jim of her mother.
One night, Sarah is about to leave the house on a date with her older boyfriend.
Jim and Sarah have been arguing again.
And Jim has been worrying about her, not knowing exactly what to do.
He would do anything for her…
…anything to keep her from winding up with the same problems as her mother.
Then, a car is honking its horn out front.
Jim is slumped down in his chair, exhausted from a fourteen hour day.
Before Sarah steps through the screen door, Jim says, “Remember—curfew is 12 o’clock!”
His granddaughter stops at the far end of the living room, turns, and says with a face that is half sneer, half smile, “I’d like to see you make me get home by twelve!!!”
The screen door slams behind her and Jim knows she is right.
He is powerless to make her do much of anything anymore.
One of our greatest images of Jesus is that He can do anything!
Walk on water.
Turn a couple fish and a few loaves into a feast for thousands.
He can even raise the dead!
Yes. Jesus can do anything!
But one thing Jesus will not do is to make us love Him.
Jesus will not control human will.
“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!”
Jesus will walk out of a tomb in a few days, but He won’t walk into our hearts without permission!
I would imagine anyone who has loved someone deeply and knows that they can’t shelter them from harm’s way understands just a tiny bit the pain in Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem.
What pain it must cause our God when He watches His creatures go through the screen door saying, “I’d like to see you make me!”
God has blessed us with free-will, and God will not break that covenant.
But Jesus is willing to do anything in order to get our attention!!!
He even likens Himself to a hen in our Gospel Lesson for this morning.
To a chicken!
Out of all the animals that Jesus could have chosen, a whole Noah’s Ark full of biblical metaphors, Jesus chooses a chicken!
He could have chosen the powerful eagle of the Book of Exodus, “I bore you on eagles’ wings.”
And there’s a cagey leopard prowling through the pages of Hosea.
God is likened to a lion in other Scripture passages.
But a chicken?
What kind of chance is a hen going to have against the likes of a fox like Herod?
But a hen is an awesome metaphor indeed!!!
In the ancient world fire was an ever-present danger.
Without modern fire-fighting equipment it could easily get out of control.
Roman writers during New Testament times speak graphically about fires in Rome’s crowded streets and homes.
The summer of 64 brought a fire to Rome that lasted for a week and destroyed half the city!
And although the word “fire” doesn’t occur in this passage, the powerful image Jesus uses here may well of had it in mind!
The fire, however, isn’t in a city; it’s in a barnyard.
And fire is as terrifying to trapped animals as it is to people, if not more so.
When a barnyard catches fire, the animals try to escape; but, if they can’t some species have a way of protecting their young.
A hen, for example, gathers her chicks under her wings to protect them.
There are stories of this: after a barnyard fire, those cleaning up have found a dead hen, scorched and blackened—with live chicks sheltering under her wings.
She has literally given her life to save them!!!
This is, indeed, a very vivid picture of what Jesus longed to do for Jerusalem, and for everyone for that matter!
But at the moment, all He could see were chicks scurrying off in all different directions, taking no notice of the smoke and flames…