Matthew 23:34-39 – Slippery Slope

Read Matthew 23:34-39

Jesus continues his rant and it seems to be intensifying a bit. Jesus talks of the prophets sent by God. Were they welcomed and applauded? Were they listened to and honored? No. According to Jesus’ account they were flogged, killed, or run out of town. God’s messengers were not given a welcome by any stretch of the imagination. Their treatment did not go unnoticed. There will be consequences.

How is it that they would take the heat for all godly people of all time? That seems a little unfair, doesn’t it? Maybe you’ve experienced injustice in your life. Maybe you were blamed for taking cookies out of the cookie jar when you know it was your younger sister or brother? When we offer to take the heat for someone, it is an entirely different story.

Yet, it can’t be a slippery slope when it is called out by Jesus, can it? He saw the religious leaders as the product of their environment. They acted as they did because of conditioning or continuing with a tradition that had been distorted long ago. Unwittingly, perhaps, they were guilty through their own ignorance. No matter, they were guilty. Their punishment would not be overlooked.

What I really appreciated from this text is Jesus’ image of the mother hen. We all have our own image of what a mother hen would do to protect her chicks. Is it over-protection? Is it necessary? Is it a beautiful picture of true love? Jesus has wanted to gather his people as a mother hen gathers her chicks.

Jesus wants to protect his people from the evil of the world. We see it all around us. Evil is lurking. Evil is in plain sight. Evil is trying to be in control. But Jesus won’t stand for it. Jesus wants to protect his chicks. If you’ve ever watched a mother hen with her babies, it’s quite precious. She would do anything, even sacrifice herself, to protect her chicks.

Take some time today to thank Jesus for how he is watching over you.

Let’s pray. Lord, thank you for how you have my back. Forgive me when I take you for granted. As I picture the mother hen, it is easy to picture you caring for me. I am overcome with gratitude. You want the best for me. You want me to soar and share your truths with others. That is a job I must do. Equip me and send me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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