Why is Jesus brooding?
Did you know…
…that Jesus uses a word that brings us all the way back to "the beginning" this week? Toward the end of the gospel story, Jesus begins to show his sadness and frustration with Jerusalem for not being able to listen to those speaking truth in his community, and rejecting or killing all those who have tried to bring change. The final image Jesus uses is the metaphor of a hen with her chicks. He says:
"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!"
Whether it was intentional on the part of the author of Luke or not, Jesus' words invoke images of a similar metaphor from much earlier in the bible. In fact, it is the earliest story you would be able to find. The story of creation!
In the first creation narrative, in the very first chapter of Genesis, we hear that:
"In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters."
The word that is translated here as "swept over," or sometimes "moved over," is actually a word that literally means "brooded over" or "fluttered over." The same word is used much later on in Deuteronomy 32:11, when God is described as a eagle who "hovers over its young; as it spreads its wings..."
These are images and metaphor that Jesus, and the author of Luke, were well aware of in their time. The imagery of a hen or an eagle, the imagery of brooding, is strong imagery that has been used to describe God/Spirit both as a creating and protecting force. Jesus draws on this imagery here, with these people, as he expresses his desire to be both an agent of change for and a protection of his people.
What does it mean to you that Jesus invokes this language? Why is it significant that Jesus is using imagery for himself that has, up until this point, been used solely for the Holy Spirit/God? What does this imagery evoke in you this week?