Lenten Journal - George Bashian - "Herod's Not the Problem"

Text: Luke 13: 31-35.    

                             “Jerusalem, Jerusalem.....how often have I desired to gather your

                              children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings,

                                and you were not willing!  (verse 34)

This Lenten lectionary reading describes an event that occurs late in Jesus' earthly ministry, when he was “[making] his way to Jerusalem” (Luke 13:22).   Some Pharisees – of all people – have warned Jesus to get out of town because Herod wants to kill him.  Just listen to the sarcastic disdain that Jesus shows for this perceived threat: “Go and tell that fox for me....” and then Jesus goes on to say that he will continue to do the work that he was sent for, Herod or no Herod.

So Herod's not the problem.  But Jerusalem is!  Jesus' lament over Jerusalem in verse 34 sounds like that of a frustrated parent whose children simply won't abide his words.  Bible scholars generally agree that the four gospels do not give a complete, day-by-day account of everything that Jesus did in his 1,000 day earthly ministry.  So it's possible that Jesus had visited Jerusalem, on more than one occasion, and his message of the “good news” of the coming of God's Kingdom had been “dissed” in the big city. Jesus does say “how often have I desired....and you were not willing.”  Sounds like there was dialoguing going on, and the folks in Jerusalem didn't want to hear what Jesus had to say.

Even today, when people of courage and faith “speak the truth to power,” they face danger.  Herods still abound.   But what about us, the folks, the people of the Garden City Community Church; are we willing to hear the radical call of Jesus to “follow me.”  Sometimes it gets uncomfortable – feeding the hungry, clothing the naked,  taking care of the sick, welcoming the stranger, visiting those in prison.  If Jesus were here today, I pray that he wouldn't lament over us, but would instead declare “well done, good and faithful servants.”  May that be our Lenten intention.