“At that very time some Pharisees came and said to him, ‘Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.’ And he said to them, ‘Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.’ O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'”
Jesus Christ is our Captain who goes to battle for us, going all the way to where the fighting is the fiercest and the fire is the hottest. The Pharisees, obviously doing whatever they can to get rid of Jesus, try to give him an out. “Herod wants to kill you,” they exclaim, and encourage him to stay far away from Jerusalem. Jesus, if you’ll forgive me, plays the part of a William Wallace from Braveheart or Maximus from Gladiator. But this is no movie. Jesus looks them square in the eyes and says, “I’m coming right into the middle of your fox hole,” as it were. “I know that’s where the fighting will be most intense, the most dangerous, but that is why I have come.”
After reading this passage several times, I’m becoming convinced that this impulse is what every great “man movie” is made of. The odds are stacked against him. His enemies appear to have the upper hand, and they even tell him so. And yet he says, “bring it on.” King Jesus will go into the furnace and die, because that is what every great prophet has done before him, and he is the perfect prophet.
Ironically, Jerusalem could have been gathered to Jesus, the fighter, “as a hen gathers her brood under her wings,” but they tragically refused time and time again. I’m reminded of another great theologian who, speaking of the last days, offers that one day the “Father hen will call his chickens home (Johnny Cash).” What Jerusalem refused is still ours to lay hold of. The wrath that Jerusalem incurred, and will one day receive in full, has been poured out on Jesus, the Great Captain who fought for us in the center of it all. Jesus is our great refuge, a cleft in the rock when the fire is the hottest. He is our high tower and shield. He has won, and we, with him, are the victors.