Lexegete ™ | Year C | St. Luke
Second Sunday in Lent
February 28, 2010
Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18
Psalm 27 (5)
Prayer of the Day
God of the covenant, in the mystery of the cross you promise everlasting life to the world, Gather all peoples into your arms and shelter us with your mercy, that we may rejoice in the life we share in your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
The Son of Man must be | lifted up,
that whoever believes in him may have e- | ternal life. (John 3:14-15)
1a. CONTEXT: Luke 13:31-35
Luke's motif of Jesus' focus/goal of Jerusalem is one
aspect of these passages. This journey to Jerusalem is
urgent and crucial for his ministry (see 9:51, 17:11,
19:28). This passage fits with the image of Jesus as
facing, set off for, focused on Jerusalem--the ultimate
goal is the Cross. There is purpose and urgency.
In this context of the life and ministry of Jesus,
there is also the larger context of the time. The world
of the Luke's day included: the tensions of the Roman
rule, the economic realities of taxation, the various
Hebraic factions, and the impact of Jesus and the crowds
which he drew wherever he went. The life of Jesus was
already threatened; Jesus knew this and those around him
may have felt the tensions.
Jesus does not follow the questioner's general
theological theme and enter into a general hypothetical
debate. He sharpens the question into an issue of
Author--Luke here shapes material that is primarily
from the Q source. This is indicated by the different
structure with which Matthew uses the same material, by
the use of Luke's own source material in vv. 31-33, and by
the editorial opening comment. (Proclamation 2; p. 29)
Audience--In vs. 23, the questioner represents no
group or class; it could be anyone, perhaps one of us.
1b. TEXT: Luke 13:31-35
Lament over Jerusalem
31 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.”
32 And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course.
33 Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.’
34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!
35 Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’”
English Standard Version © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a ministry of Good News Publishers.
31Ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ προσῆλθάν τινες Φαρισαῖοι λέγοντες αὐτῷ, Ἔξελθε καὶ πορεύου ἐντεῦθεν, ὅτι Ἡρῴδης θέλει σε ἀποκτεῖναι. 32καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς, Πορευθέντες εἴπατε τῇ ἀλώπεκι ταύτῃ, Ἰδοὺ ἐκβάλλω δαιμόνια καὶ ἰάσεις ἀποτελῶ σήμερον καὶ αὔριον, καὶ τῇ τρίτῃ τελειοῦμαι. 33πλὴν δεῖ με σήμερον καὶ αὔριον καὶ τῇ ἐχομένῃ πορεύεσθαι, ὅτι οὐκ ἐνδέχεται προφήτην ἀπολέσθαι ἔξω Ἰερουσαλήμ. 34Ἰερουσαλὴμ Ἰερουσαλήμ, ἡ ἀποκτείνουσα τοὺς προφήτας καὶ λιθοβολοῦσα τοὺς ἀπεσταλμένους πρὸς αὐτήν, ποσάκις ἠθέλησα ἐπισυνάξαι τὰ τέκνα σου ὃν τρόπον ὄρνις τὴν ἑαυτῆς νοσσιὰν ὑπὸ τὰς πτέρυγας, καὶ οὐκ ἠθελήσατε. 35ἰδοὺ ἀφίεται ὑμῖν ὁ οἶκος ὑμῶν. λέγω [δὲ] ὑμῖν, οὐ μὴ ἴδητέ με ἕως [ἥξει ὅτε] εἴπητε, Εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι κυρίου.
Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 26th ed. © 1979, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart;
The Greek New Testament, 3rd edition © 1975, United Bible Societies, London
2. ANALYSIS: Luke 13: [22-30] 31-35
Luke 13 is generally seen within the central teaching
section of the Gospel. This material is thought to be
from several sources (much from 'Q') - and to have been
shaped by Luke.
Jerusalem may deserve attention; various
commentaries deal with the many aspects which touch on
these passages. Topics include: death of
prophets in Jerusalem (not recorded, but a traditional
view), Journey motif in Luke, Ascension motif in Luke,
previous journeys of Jesus to Jerusalem and others.
[ vs. 24 "Strive" the Greek verb, 'agonizesthe', is
also translated 'strain every nerve' and 'try your best.' ]
vs. 32 "Fox", in rabbinic writings the fox was
frequently used as a term for an unimportant person. The
'fox' as an animal was regarded as the slyest; and it was
regarded as the most destructive of animals.
vs. 34 "Hen", is a general term for a mother fowl.
The image is of a bird protecting her brood from danger -
a familiar picture in Jewish songs as well as the O.T.
(Deut. 32:11-12, Ruth 2:12, Ps. 17:8, 36:7, 57:1, 61:4,
63:7, 91:4, Isa. 31:5).
'The Mother Eagle, Feminine Images of God IV' by
Virginia Ramey Mollenkott in DAUGHTERS OF SARAH (Vol. 7,
no. 6, Nov./Dec. 1981, p. 17f.) is a helpful presentation.
Exodus 19, Deut. 32, and Job 39 speak of the mother eagle
teaching her young to fly; Mollenkott writes, "What a
picture of a loving God, caring nurturantly for us when we
are weak, yet always aiming at the goal of our maturity
and internalized strength rather than at morbid dependency
upon a force external to ourselves." p. 18.
"It seems to have been an iron rule that prophets
should suffer and die violent deaths in the Holy City.
But Jesus is not just quoting a popular view. He is
preparing to accept the prophets' passions Himself. The
decisions must be taken in Jerusalem." (Kittel,
THEOLOGICAL DICTIONARY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, Vol. VII, p.
3. STRATEGY: Luke 13: (22-30) 31-35
Several considerations are needed as the preacher
begins to shape the sermon based on the Gospel for Lent 2.
• How much of the material will be read, and
• Will any attention be given to the Journey to
Ascension, or the Journey to Jerusalem themes?
• What is the attitude of the Pharisees who warn
Jesus in vs. 31? Are they well-meaning, or are they
trying to trick Jesus?
• Are all the pericopes centered to answer the earlier
question in Lk. 13:22:
'Lord, will those who are saved be few?'
The Compassion of Jesus is suggested by the later
verses of the passage. The image of the mother hen and
her brood suggest the possibility for examination of the
mothering, caring, compassion of God. The whole matter of
the nature and characteristics of God are opened by these
Many may be receiving special mission offerings
during Lent for the Haiti earthquake and other special needs;
caring and compassion are elements of these programs.
The tension between caring and evangelism are
present in the Lk. 13: 34-35 passage; Jesus cared for the
city, but was rejected. The words 'would not' - literally
'you have not wished it' point to the element of personal
choice. Jesus wished that it were otherwise.
Lk. 13:23 'Lord, will those who are saved be few?'
This is a perpetual issue for the Church. There may be
situations which call for a general theological
examination of universal versus selective salvation. The
differences between Matt. 13: 31f and John 10: 7f may be
helpful. Likely we may wish to avoid the theoretical
question and move it to the personal.
The overall theme of personal choice may offer a
Lenten focus. Couched within the larger context and the
framework of the life and ministry of Jesus, the key
question in Lk. 13: 22-35 seems to be how to enter the
presence of God. "It is as though the Lord replied, 'The
crucial matter is not about numbers, many or few - the
crucial matter is what about you?'" (Walter Russell Bowie,
THE COMPASSIONATE CHRIST, p. 189.)
Exegete: Rev. Stephen T. Deckard is Director of Connectional Ministries
for the United Methodist Church in Western New York (Cicero, New York).
Danker, Frederick W. Luke. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1976.
Juel, Donald. Luke-Acts. The Promise of History.
Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1983.
5. MUSIC SUGGESTIONS
Some appropriate hymns for this day include the following:
THE GLORY OF THESE FORTY DAYS (HB 143),
IF THOU BUT TRUST IN GOD TO GUIDE THEE (HB 635,LBW 453),
LORD, WHO THROUGHOUT THESE FORTY DAYS (HB 142),
A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS OUR GOD (HB 687/8,LBW 228/9),
THE GOD OF ABRAHAM PRAISE (HB 401,LBW 544),
CREATOR OF THE EARTH AND SKIES (HB 148),
KIND MAKER OF THE WORLD, O HEAR (HB 152),
LORD CHRIST, WHEN FIRST THOU CAM'ST TO EARTH (HB 598,LBW 421),
LORD, THEE I LOVE WITH ALL MY HEART (LBW 325),
JESUS, REFUGE OF THE WEARY (LBW 93),
O JESUS CHRIST, MAY GRATEFUL HYMNS BY RISING (HB 590,LBW 427).
LEXEGETE © 2010
Dartmouth, MA 02747-1925