The Gospel of Luke

This devotional is written by Lucy Knight. Lucy is a tall curly-haired journalist from Plymouth.

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Jesus' Sorrow for Jerusalem

31 At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, "Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you."

32 He replied, "Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.' 33 In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!

34 "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, and you were not willing. 35 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.'[a]"

Reflection

I'm writing this while in isolation, as I imagine most of us will be by the time of reading. So Jesus's proclamation "I must press on" ( NIV translation) is especially resonant. I'm reminded of Jesus' clear focus on his vision, and his lack of fear. It's clear that he knows he will die - he's not especially bothered that Herod might be trying to kill him, and in verse 35 he tells the Pharisees that they won't see him again until they say "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord" i.e. when they praise him as he rides through the crowds on Palm Sunday.

It's really hard not to worry, particularly in a time of global crisis. And, of course, we don't have the divine foresight Jesus had. But we have to trust that God does have a plan for us. We also have the Bible, and each other, to guide us. We have to try and not let worries and negative news/ rumours (of which there are plenty right now) get in the way of "pressing on" with God's vision for our lives. That, of course, doesn't mean that we shouldn't rest, take solace etc... there's plenty in the Bible on the importance of these things too. But from this particular passage I was inspired by Jesus' resilience.

Then there's the irony of Jerusalem, the supposed "chosen land", being a place where prophets are killed. Their current system is broken (much as, arguably, our current one is), and the way to fix that is by compassion, letting people in, forming communities - the chick metaphor in verse 34 is a strong reminder of what Church should look like. I pray that we will come together as a family, and show kindness where it is most needed.

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