“At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, ‘Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.’ . . . (Jesus) 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 . . . (then Jesus said to the city) 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!” Luke 13:31- 34
Gospel writers have a low view of Pharisees. In part because those keepers of the law had managed to create six hundred and thirteen laws, one either did or did not do, to fully keep the commandments handed down through Moses on Mount Sinai. For most people, it was impossible to keep all of them. Reading through the Biblical books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John we discover multiple times when some of the Pharisees were in conflict with Jesus. Yet, on a day when Jesus weeps over Jerusalem, here in the Gospel of Luke, we read: “At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, ‘Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.’” Luke 13:31.
Pharisees warning Jesus? These aren’t the people our minds go to when we think of others who shared the name and vocation. Weren’t all Pharisees blind guides? Weren’t they all against Jesus? Well, apparently not. Which only goes to show our human inclination to think the worst of any group, when one or some of their number act in ways that we find offensive.
It’s the way police got marked with the stain of Derrick Chauvin’s indifference, in the face of George Floyd’s dying. And Black Lives Matter protestors were blamed for the destructive acts of others. It’s why we hear people from one political party, brand the other as demonic or worse.
What we learn from the gospel of Luke, is that there were those among the Pharisees who were concerned for Jesus’s welfare, concerned for his well being. Whenever we label an entire group by the actions of a few, we show our biases and prejudices. We show our unwillingness to discover who people really are.
These Pharisees who warned Jesus, go unnamed in our scripture. But they remind us to look beyond our simple projections of who a person is, based on their status in life. Instead, encouraging us to take time to learn another’s hopes and dreams. We may discover, those dreams are the very same as our own.
For you see, Jesus still yearns to gather all of us together, into one great fellowship of love . . . just as a hen gathers her brood, in the warmth of her wings.
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Agree 100%, Shirley! The Pharisees who “warned” Jesus may have just been trying to get rid of Him, but Nicodemus, a Pharisee, helped Joseph of Aramathea bury Him, so we know there was at least one who wasn’t His enemy.
I am acutely aware that there are Christians doing stupid things that give Christ-haters an excuse to dismiss us all as hypocritical, racist, arrogant, etc. It makes me want to be more conformed to Jesus, prove them wrong.
I think it always comes back, like the camp song says, “They’ll know we are Christians by our love.”