The Lament over Jerusalem
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.’ 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'willingness to put himself in danger, to refuse to turn away from the reckoning that even those around him, slow as they sometimes were, could see was coming, might be seen as courageous or foolhardy.
But perhaps there is something else: In courage, there is also fear. We can't make a choice to be courageous unless we feel the fear of the options before us. Although some might show courage in spontaneous situations, mostly, courage is something we choose over fear. We have to know the inherent dangers to actively choose to overcome those and be courageous.
And so, Jesus, in choosing to press on toward Jerusalem, displays something of himself - that he is open to fear yet chooses to go on anyway. In his words and in the choice he makes, we see deep into Jesus' character, we are party to the vulnerability that he displays for us. That vulnerability that fears rejection, that fears pain, that fears death, the vulnerability that allows Jesus to choose courage and set his course for Jerusalem.
And, alongside his vulnerability, fear and courage, we see also compassion. Compassion that wants to shelter a bruised and broken city, hell-bent on destruction - a compassion that knows rejection as those he yearns to shelter refuse to be turned away from the course they have set.
Vulnerability, fear, courage and compassion - the sheer humanity of Christ displayed for us in these verses today with an invitation to embrace who we are at our most vulnerable and fearful with courage and compassion.
In Christ we are invited to be who we are, to love who we are, even as we are accepted and loved by one who knows us and who stretches out wings in which we may shelter.
Thanks be to God.