Summary: Jesus’ love is fearless and protective, as a hen gathers her chicks. He wants us to seek His love and we have the power to choose–if we are willing.
Jesus–The Rejected Lover
by David O. Dykes
Have you ever had your love rejected? Her name was Sandra Moody and I first met her in the third grade. I thought she was the most beautiful girl on earth. I can remember thinking, “When I stop hating girls, she is going to be the first one I stop hating!” I actually had a huge crush on her beginning about the sixth grade. She was one of my best friends. Her nickname for me was “flathead” because the back of my head is flat. I hated that nickname–but because I had a crush on her, I endured it. When I was in the seventh grade Sandra gave me her school picture and it was the only one I carried in my newly acquired wallet. I used to take her picture out and kiss it–but I was just her buddy, Flathead. In the eighth grade I finally summoned enough courage to ask her to be my girlfriend. She laughed and said, “Yuck, Flathead, you are like my brother! Besides I’m in love with Mark McCoy.” We continued to be friends, but my heart was good and broken for the first time. After high school, I lost touch with Sandra.
About ten years ago, I was preaching a revival at Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida. It was advertised in the paper, and one afternoon I got a message from the church secretary to call…Sandra Moody McCoy. She lived in Pensacola and I didn’t even know it. She told me she was going to come to the revival service that night. After the service, I was standing down front and I saw her at a distance, with her three kids and her husband, Mark McCoy. I just knew she was having a hard time restraining herself from running into my arms saying, “Oh, David, the biggest mistake of my life was not becoming your girlfriend in the eighth grade!” But instead, she said, “David! Wow, you’ve got gray hair to go with your flat head!” We laughed and had a short visit and I found myself thinking of that song by Garth Brooks, “I thank God for unanswered prayers!” I’m glad I married Cindy!
But, oh, the pain of rejected love! Some of you have had the same experience, perhaps many times. It hurts when someone rejects your love, whether you are 13, 22, 33 or 73 years old. In the passage today, I want you to see how Jesus’ love is often rejected. Let’s talk about Jesus, the rejected lover.
Before we read, let me review the context and setting. Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem to be crucified. (see 13:22) The opposition against him was growing stronger and more vocal. The common people loved him and heard Him gladly, but the religious crowd hated Him because He exposed their hypocrisy. Let’s pick up with Luke 13:31-35:
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!
Oh 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. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
In these words you can almost feel the depth of love and compassion He had for His people. That’s the same kind of love He has for you today, so let’s learn three things about Jesus’ love.
1. JESUS IS A FEARLESS LOVER
The Pharisees warned Jesus that Herod was out to kill Him, so He had better leave town by sundown. He was no friend of the Pharisees, so this warning was probably a scare tactic intended to spook Jesus.
Herod Antipas was a powerful governor who had the authority to execute anyone he desired. A few months earlier he beheaded John the Baptist at the request of his cunning stepdaughter, who was also his niece. Herod had nightmares that Jesus was actually John come back from the dead.
Jesus’ reply is priceless. He makes a joke of Herod. He says, “You tell that fox...” That’s an example of Hebrew humor, but I noticed none of you laughed. Maybe you Texans just don’t appreciate good Hebrew humor. He was offering a caricature of Herod as a sneaky, cunning, predatory animal–actually pretty funny if you knew anything about Herod! He was more animal-like in his passions than human.