If you’ve done much reading through the Gospels, you know that Jesus has a long history of picking the most unlikely animals in which to compare himself. Undoubtedly, the most common animal portrayal that Jesus uses is the idea of Christ as the Lamb of God.
A lamb? Come on, Jesus.
How about a tiger?
Or a great white?
Or a falcon?
Those are fierce, powerful, and just plain cool.
In this passage, Jesus chooses an equally unlikely animal: a chicken.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.” (Matthew 23:27 NLT)
But, there’s nothing fierce, powerful, or cool about chickens.
Seriously, we eat those – usually in nugget form and with Chick-fil-a sauce.
Why would Jesus pick a chicken? I think He’s communicating a powerful truth to those who are listening.
So, why a chicken?
Actually, Jesus is more specific than just any chicken, Jesus says He is like a hen – and for those of you who aren’t up-to-date on your chicken terminology, a hen is a momma chicken.
Jesus is wanting to “gather [us] together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings…”
Don’t miss that. Jesus is wanting to protect us.
While a chicken wouldn’t rate as highly on my fierce scale as a tiger, great white, or falcon, anytime you put “mamma,” “protect,” and “children” together you have the epitome of fierce. Scary fierce.
Ask anyone who raises chickens: hens are known to risk everything to protect their chicks from harm and to take out anything that poses a threat: foxes, coyotes, and people (video below). Hens are fierce for their chicks.
Jesus is communicating that He is fierce in His protection of His church.
He loves it.
He nourishes it.
He died for it.
But, Jesus also shows us the problem: we often won’t let Jesus fiercely protect us.
How often do we miss out on what Jesus wants to do in out life because we are unwilling to come to Him? How often do we struggle with concerns, worries, heartaches, troubles, and doubts when Jesus wants us to find refuge under His wings?
So, how do we gather under Jesus? Here’s three ways:
- Choose to go to God with your concerns first – not last. (1 Peter 5:7)
- Trust that God is working all things in your life (even the really painful things) for ultimate good – He’s not absent from your life. (Romans 8:28)
- Let the Good News of Jesus transform your life by renewing the very way you think thinking. (Romans 12:2)
How often do we forget that God isn’t against us or absent from our life – He’s for us and wants to be with us!
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