By Herb Montgomery
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” —Jesus (Luke 13:34–35)
In part 3 we looked at Jesus’ call to Israel to repent of her “eye for an eye” way of relating to the Romans, and to embrace the path of nonviolent, enemy embracing love that would end in life through the narrow gate of a nonviolent revolution.
The Hebrew (and remember, Jesus was a Hebrew) word for repentance is teshuvah which is defined as “turning.” But what does this mean in the context of Jesus’ use of this concept? In short, Jesus was calling them to repent/turn from their violence to nonviolence.
The verb form of teshuvahis shuv, which actually means to“return.” Originally it held the meaning “to return to God from exile,” from the place of alienation and separation back to God. Jesus used it to refer to a return from the path of annihilation, (the way of violence), to God and God’s path of nonviolent, enemy-embracing love, or the way of peace.
“At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’”(Luke 13:31–33)Then Jesus stops and muses:
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Luke 13:34–35)Jesus, in a rare moment of clarity, through a momentary window, lets us into His heart to see what is transpiring within Him. Jesus steps into the role of a mother hen, as Mother God, and weeps over Jerusalem’s rejection of both Himself and the way out that He has been offering to them.
"You do not understand that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have [through following this man’s naïve and impractical plan of noniovlent noncooperation] the whole nation destroyed. (John 11:50)As Jesus said, three days after his reference to God’s“Mother Hen” withdrawal, he would re-enter Jerusalem. Would the people of Jerusalem repent and call him “blessed”? Would they receive their nonviolent Messiah riding on a donkey rather than a militaristic Messiah entering Jerusalem on a steed? Or would they take another step towards their own annihilation and ruin?
As He rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, all of His disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” (Luke 19:36–38, emphasis)Would Jerusalem join the disciples in calling Him blessed? I’m afraid that’s not what happened. Instead:
“Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.” (Luke 19:39–40, emphasis mine)Where does this leave us today?