Sermon — Luke 13:34 — 03/25/12


Sermon Text – New Testament Gospel – Luke 13:34


34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!”

Sermon Theme: Gospel results and responses:

1. Those who hear and believe it are saved because of GOD’S grace!

2. Those who hear and reject it are condemned because THEY were not willing!

Dear friends in Christ,

When my family and I lived in Clarkston, we had the opportunity to raise chickens for a few years.  It all started with buying some Cornish cross for putting in the freezer, but one year we couldn’t resist some of the other assorted chicks that one of our farm-and-ranch stores was selling.  We raised some of them up and about a year later had our first batch of little chicks.

If you have never seen it before, it really is something to see.  When those chicks hatched, and we got them all outside, that hen, she had her feathers constantly all ruffled up, with her wings out from her body – and with her clucking she made it known that her chicks needed to stay close to her.  They did get out from under her to explore and peck, but with one warning from the hen, they were right back under her wings again.  And believe me, if another hen or worse yet a rooster would come too close, that mother hen let it be known that she was there to do everything she could to protect her own – and those chicks knew they could trust in her for that!

This type of relationship is what Jesus wanted to have with “Jerusalem,” namely His chosen people, the Jews, the children of Israel.  As that mother hen gathered her chicks, so He wanted to gather these people around Him.  He desired to have them see in Him their God, their Savior, their Guide, their Protector and Defender.

There was nothing new here – this had always been God’s desire for the children of Israel.  And to serve that goal of having His people gather to Him the Lord had sent His prophets with His words of warning and rebuke when needed.  The Lord knew that His people were in constant danger – danger of temptations to turn away from Him – temptations that would come from the people that lived around them, as well as temptations from the devil and their own sinful flesh.  And as the Lord knew that His people would sin, He spoke to them time and again abundant messages of His forgiveness and His desire to have them turn back to Him.

When Jesus Himself was on the earth, He continued to bring that message of warning and rebuke, of salvation and deliverance.  Everything He said and did revolved around His desire for the people to see that in Him they had their Savior, and to find in Him their Refuge and Strength.

And yet what do we find?  They “killed and stoned the prophets and the ones sent to them” – and as far as Jesus Himself?  They rejected Him, too!  “You were not willing!”  “Crucify Him!  Crucify Him!” was their response.

Why is this?  How could this happen?  Never would you see the chicks run the other way when called in by the mother hen.  What is the problem?  For one, we know that the problem does not lie with God and His Word of Gospel invitation.

You and I are among those who have heard the cluck of the mother hen, who have heard the Word of God, who have heard Him call through the writings of the prophets and the apostles.  It is that Word of the Gospel itself which gave us hearing, by which we also received faith, faith to see in this Man standing before Pilate the One who is our King, mighty to defeat all of our spiritual enemies, faith to trust in Jesus as our own Savior from sin, faith to come to Him with repentance over our sins, finding in Him the strength to “amend our sinful lives,” faith to come to Him who is “our Refuge and strength, a very present Help in trouble.”

But all of this is “by grace – not of ourselves – it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”  That we are “God’s own children by faith in Christ Jesus” is completely due to God’s grace; not at all because of anything we have done to earn or deserve it.

Then what is it that happened here?  Why is it that these Jews rejected Him?  Is it because there is some weakness in the Gospel call to salvation?  Is it that the Gospel only works on certain people and not on others?  Is it because God only wants some to be saved, and has therefore also chosen others to be condemned?

These are questions that many have tried to answer when they see that some are saved and others are condemned – that some come to faith and others are “not willing.”

I pray that God would continue to help us by guiding us away from trying to find answers to questions like these in our sinful human reason.  Rather we simply see the two truths – that those who are saved owe their entire salvation to the grace of God; and that those who “are not willing,” as Jesus says here, have only themselves to blame.  It is not Jesus who is not willing – it is they who “were not willing.”

And we close this morning with the word of warning that we hear from Jesus.  God’s grace can be rejected!  It is a tragic truth that a person can hear the saving message of the Gospel and turn away from it in unbelief!

May God ever help you and me to be vigilant and watchful!  The devil desires to lure you away from your mother hen, to draw you away to be the master of your own destiny, to find your way to heaven in yourself.  It is his desire to draw you away and snatch you up to your eternal destruction.  Instead may the Lord who has brought us to Himself continue to bless us with “ears that hear” – that we listen for His words of warning against temptation and sin, and forever find our protection and defense under His almighty wings.  Amen.