Session #138 Alignment Chicks
Scripture Matthew 23:37-39
Summary If your heart has ever ached for a loved one to know or return to the Lord, you will resonate deeply with the heart cry of Jesus in Matthew 23:37-39. As a hen gathers her chicks, the King longs to take His people under His wings, to have each one rightly aligned with Him. Sadly, not everyone wants what Jesus wants. Our personal choices today will determine how we finally greet Him when He comes again.
“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 chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ” Matthew 23:37-39
This passage records the final words of Jesus (the Prophets of all prophets) before He leaves the temple for good, lamenting over Jerusalem. What appears to be a pronouncement of judgment is first and foremost a cry of love, pain, grief and compassion.
As a Hen Gathers Her Chicks Under Her Wings: Alignment Chicks
The phrase in Matthew 23:37 about chicks under a hen’s wings is God language and one that Israel is very familiar with; that of pictures of birds looking after and protecting their young. Examples are found in Deuteronomy 3:11-12. Psalms 17:8-9, 36:7, 91:4. Gentiles, who converted to Judaism, were also known to have come under the wings of the Lord God of Israel (Ruth 2:12). We are to note the Christological implications here. Jesus in speaking these words, is demonstrating that He is God, wanting to gather His people to Himself. As God, He tried to gather Israel for the longest time and not just the three years that He was on earth..
God longs to take His people under His wings to learn from Himself. Jesus invites all to learn from Him. We have to come under His wings for guidance and direction, for the right reference points to properly check alignment. We are to learn from the King about His Kingdom and not from the world, not to be burdened with a institutional or organised religion (Matthew 11:28-30).
Jesus Wants Everyone Under His Wings But Not Everyone Wants It
Jesus offers the best Alignment Check you can ever get or find and be enrolled in. But we have a choice if we want to come under His wings, His care, His authority, His direction. Sadly, the religious leaders were not interested (Matthew 23:37). They preferred organised religion more than a relationship with the King. This seems a common response, rejecting God (Jeremiah 6:16, Isaiah 30:15). Yet God does not give up and sends many prophets to sound the awakening, to make God’s people aware of their misalignments, how they have veered from God’s ways. They invite the people to turn and return and be aligned with God again, especially the leaders who were leading others wrongly, causing them to miss the kingdom of God. These prophets are ‘Alignment Ambassadors’, not messengers of gloom but of grace. The religious leaders stoned and killed the prophets as they prided themselves as the main custodians of the law and refused to see how misaligned they were (Matthew 23:37). They not only reject Jesus, they would crucify Him, the one who offered them love, protection and the way to eternal life.
The Cry and Lament of Jesus– of compassion, consequence and hope of His coming
Jesus’ heart wrenching cry ‘O Jerusalem Jerusalem’ is, first and foremost, a cry of compassion like a parent whose heart would break deep within, seeing a child disobey and getting into trouble.
It is also a cry of consequence, a warning that their house (their temple not God’s) will be left desolate. The temple system will be ended and God’s house will be a messianic community in Christ. Rejection of Jesus and His kingdom carries a consequence and we must not be afraid to warn others so that they can turn and return to Jesus (Matthew 23:38, Jeremiah 12:7, 22:5, Matthew 24:2,15).
Finally, it is a cry of the hope of His coming (Matthew 23:39), to see what is not right (hence Jesus’ going) and to make sure we are rightly focused and aligned to see what is right (Jesus’ coming again) (Matthew 23:39, 21:9). It points forward with hope that Israel will recognise and accept Jesus as Messiah (Romans 11:25-27, Psalms 118:26)
Implications: What does it mean for us?
We are to see between the two ‘sees’ in the passage. The first is to see the dryness and dangers of organised religion that looks good only on the outside. The second is to see that Jesus is coming again and not to be on the wrong side when He comes. In between the two ‘sees’, we are to see that the time to respond is now; to get out of religion into a relationship with Jesus to be awakened, aligned and assigned and help others to be so.
We are to cry as Jesus cried for all to turn and return to Jesus. We are to pray for Israel, for the Church (People of God), for Singapore, for our loved ones. We are to come under God’s wings as alignment chicks to check our alignment. We are to appreciate alignment ambassadors, the prophetic voices that keep us on track and not ignore, reject or abuse them. Besides being aligned and ready for the Lord’s coming, it would be even better if we are to be God’s alignment ambassadors, to love and help others to align to Jesus and His kingdom.
If you are praying for a child or a loved one who has misaligned, gone wayward and refuses to heed any godly advice, you have a glimpse of the Father’s heart, and the heart of our King, Jesus. We cry out with compassion, concerned of the consequence that awaits those who reject Jesus.
As a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, Jesus longs to bring His people under His love, care, protection and guidance. He longs for them to come under His wings. and be alignment chicks who are serious about alignment checks. With Jesus and His kingdom as our reference points, let us want what Jesus wants and learn from Jesus and live for Jesus. Let us look to His coming again when we rejoice and declare: Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! AMEN.