Could You Elaborate More on What Christ Said in Matthew 23:37?


Matthew 23:37 quotes Christ’s words as follows: “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, and you were not willing!”

This quote could also be applied to how Christ feels about those God would call into the Church—not just how He felt about Jerusalem. Some may probably think that a chicken is one of the dumbest animals in creation, but there are amazing lessons to be learned from what Christ said.

When a chicken lays an egg, she goes into a cackle for some thirty to sixty seconds, letting everyone know what she had just accomplished. This cackle is unique in its sound. Even though this reaction is instinctive, if we were to apply it to human feelings, we could say that the hen is communicating her joy over the eggs to others.

Similarly, when a person repents of his sins, there is joy in heaven over this event, and the angels sing about it. Luke 15:7 states: “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”

When a hen hatches the chicks, one of the first things she does is to show them how to eat. When hens hatch their chicks, small containers might be placed in the box where they are; one with water and the other one with food. It has been observed that the hen draws the containers close to her with her beak and puts her beak in each container one at a time and clucks while doing so, teaching the chicks that when she clucks, there is food. When they get a bit bigger and follow her in the yard, she shows them by clucking (a different sound than when she lays eggs) and scratching to look for any ants, grubs or worms they may have disturbed, so they learn to scratch around and look for food.

Similarly, Christ teaches us through the messages of His ministers, and we thus receive spiritual food. When we study and understand the Bible, because His Spirit opens our minds, we are fed spiritually as well. Ephesians 4:11-13 says: “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some, evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

Notice that the teaching through the ministry is for the equipping or “perfecting of the saints” (Authorized Version); that is, so we can become more perfect—more like Christ. It is “for the work of the ministry”; that is, so the ministry can be effective in delivering messages God wants the members to learn. It is also “for the edifying of the body”; that is, so we can be edified. This process is to continue “till we all come to the unity of the faith”; that is, so that we are all unified, one in thinking or on the same page, working towards perfection until we walk more fully in the footsteps of Christ.

When the chicks get cold or if there is some form of danger, they go under the mother for warmth and protection. Similarly, Christ will protect us when we face physical and spiritual danger.

There are many cases when God intervened for His children and loved ones, and protected them from personal harm.

One example of physically protecting His children comes to mind in regards to a lady in the Church of God who lived on a property with the lawn slopping away from the front of the house for about thirty feet; then there was a cement wall with no fence on it and about an eight foot drop to the ground. One day she came out of the house with her baby in a buggy and turned around to lock the door. When she turned back, to her dismay the buggy had gotten away from her and was now about five feet from the wall where it would go crashing down the eight foot drop, seriously injuring or even killing her baby. It was too far away for her to run and grab it, so all she could do was watch. A foot from the wall, the buggy made an abrupt right turn and stopped for no apparent reason.

Christ also protects us from spiritual harm. He uses His ministry to protect us from wolves in sheep’s clothing and from heresies or compromise which we are seeing more and more these days. This is the care Christ has for us in that He gathers us and protects us under His wings, as it were.

A hen will also fiercely defend her chicks from danger. It has been observed that a duck came too close to hatched chicks. The mother hen immediately attacked the duck. That duck never came too close to the chicks again.

Christ is also willing to defend us. The following true example deals with a man who had been breaking into apartments and robbing people, also physically assaulting them. One day he broke into a widow’s apartment who was a Church member. She was in her bedroom, so he did not know she was there. She suddenly surprised him and to her amazement, he took one look at her and fled. When the police captured him after the member had reported the attempted robbery, they asked him why he fled. He said he was not about to attack the lady as there was this big guy standing behind her with a sword in his hand. God the Father and Jesus Christ protect us physically—oftentimes through angels who are present but mostly invisible to the human eye.

Christ’s analogy in Matthew 23:37 points at lessons to be learned from a chicken.

A chicken will “rejoice” when she lays eggs; it will teach her chicks to eat and scratch for food; and it will protect them from the cold or danger. Christ tells us there is joy in heaven when a person repents; and He uses the ministry to both feed and protect His sheep from physical and spiritual harm.

We as His sheep and His “chicks” should be totally tuned in to Christ, as stated in John 10:27: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” Just as a chick follows its mother, so we need to follow Christ and His ministry to teach, feed and protect us. Physical “Jerusalem” was and is not willing to come under the wings of Christ’s protection, but we—spiritual Jerusalem, spiritual Jews and spiritual Israel—must be different.

Lead Writer: Rene Messier (Canada)

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