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Matthew 23:37
This is message number 29 in our series on compassion.
Before we jump back into these messages, "Why are we taking so much time studying compassion?"
Because compassion is a major attribute or characteristic of God.
A.W. Tozer said, "What comes into our minds when we thing about God is the most important thing about us.
For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not wht he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like."
"The problem is that most of us have such distorted images of God.
How we conceive God in our hearts and how He reveals Himself in His Word are worlds apart!!!
That is because we developed our concepts and feelings about our heavenly Father from earthly mothers, fathers, and guardians.
None of us had perfect families.
Many people have experienced parents or other family members as emotionally distant, unreliable, abusive, unrealistic in their expectations, inattentive, or abandoning.
As a result, we may see the God of the Bible through distored lenses.
Our images of God influence us more powerfully than do our ideas or doctrinal statements about God, because images are rooted in powerful emotional experiences.
The displacement of distorted images of God with Biblically accurate ones is not an easy process."[1]
I want to help in that process by laboring through God's revelation of Himself as a compassionate God!!!
        A generous man named Jonas Brown once invited Dr. L. S. Bauman to stay in his home.
Soon after the preacher arrived in the farming community, an incident occurred which gave the man of God an opportunity to witness to his host.
He writes, "One morning before breakfast, Jonas came to my room and beckoned me to follow him.
He led me to one of the outer buildings where a hen sat on a nest with a brood of chickens peeking out from under her wings.
'Touch her,' Jonas said, 'she's stone dead!
Look at that wound in her head.
A weasel sucked all the blood from her body, and she never once moved for fear the little beast would get her chicks.'
Just a few days before, Jonas' wife had asked me to join her in praying for his conversion, and I had been hunting for some illustration to make plain the importance of the Savior's sacrifice, which he could not seem to grasp.
\\         Now I saw my opportunity.
'O Jonas,' I said, 'that was just like Christ.
He endured all that suffering on the cross on behalf of us sinners.
He could have moved, but He wouldn't because you and I were under His wings.
If He had saved himself, we would have been lost.'
The Lord used those simple comments to convict that farmer of his need.
A few more words from the Scripture and Jonas, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, knelt on the floor of the hen house and gave his heart to Christ."
This illustration was not only true to life and practical, it was biblical.
Jesus likens Himself to a hen in Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34.
Turn to Matthew 23:37 with me please.
Would follow along in your Bibles as I read this aloud for us.
Notice God's passion and pleading.
We have learned that our God is a compassionate God.
As such He depicts Himself not only as a father, but as a mother.
Since Jesus is the second subsistence of the triune God, He is God!  Since He is God, He also as to His nature is compassionate and motherly.
Jesus also depicts Himself as a mother, by using the metaphor of a hen gathering her chicks.
"A metaphor is a figure of speech in which one thing or class of things is referred to as if it belonged to another class."[2]
Metaphors are so common that many times we take them for granted.
We say "Don't sit on the `arm of the chair.'"
Everybody knows that chairs don't have real arms, but this metaphor has been employed for so long that it is no longer considered a metaphor.
There are famous metaphors like Shakespeare's line from /As You Like It/:  "All the world's a stage."
And so we have here a beautiful metaphor of Christ as a hen.
"*There is no creature that is moved with so much compassion towards her young ones, as the Hen.*  /And likewise, /the Lord Jesus was moved with the greatest compassion imaginable towards the poor Jews and Jerusalem, which He was first sent to, and came to seek and to save.
This is signified abundantly by that wonderful passion, that seized upon His Spirit, when he came near the city, and by his expressions in this text."[3]
Remember that compassion is "*a deep feeling for and an understanding of suffering with an accompanying desire to relieve that suffering*"  (Webster's Third New International Dictionary).
We shall see that Jesus had a deep feeling for and understanding of the suffering of His people plus a desire to relieve that suffering, as we survey the characteristics of the hen.
\\ /(Let's explore the compassion of Jesus in this metaphor by listing:)/
The Hen Defends Her Chicks.
"The Hen is observed to fly in the very face of ravenous birds who try to destroy her chickens; she strives to save and defend them with all her might, and even her life."[4]
This is true not only of birds, but of any predator.
*When my brother and I were small children, we encountered the fierceness of the mother hen, and she was formidable indeed!*
        "Jesus faced the greatest enemies, even the devil himself, to save and defend His offspring of Israel and the Church."[5]
        A preacher stayed one night in a farmer's home while on an evangelistic tour, and early the next morning he observed a very practical illustration.
Writing about the many valuable lessons to be learned from nature, he said, "I sat looking at a brood of chicks as they trailed behind their mother.
She kept clucking loudly to attract her young as she scratched for food.
At first the little ones just watched her, but soon they began to follow her example.
Suddenly a strange dog appeared.
With a deep growl he leaped over a small fence and ran toward them in a threatening manner.
The mother hen glared fiercely at the intruder, and frightened him by her actions.
The little chicks quickly ran to her side and found a place of safety beneath her wings.
Peeking out with a defiant and impudent look, they seemed to be saying, 'You'll never be able to get us here, you big hound!'
The dog turned and ran, but the young ones stayed where they were for a long time, content in their place of refuge.
*As I watched the scene, I was reminded of a comforting truth.
We who belong to Christ can also find rest and blessed security beneath His wings.*
We are sheltered by His love, and the forces of darkness cannot harm us if we put our trust in Him!"
/(Christ's compassions is also like the hen's in that:)/
\\ 2.      The Hen Is Very Affectionate.
"A hen shows such great affection towards her young ones, that being affected with their weakness, she also is made weak."[6]
"Christ, that he might save poor perishing sinners, by taking man's nature upon Him, was made weak in the same sense, as it is said he became poor:  such was the greatness of His love and affections towards us, that `He bore our sicknesses, and carried our sorrows,' Isaiah 53:4.
To what extremity of faintness was he brought, when `he sweat as it were great drops of blood!'
And when the ponderous cross was laid upon Him, as they led him to Golgotha, it is said, `He fainted,' Luke 22:44.
He was touched with the feeling of our infirmities, being made like to us in all things, except for sin,' Hebrews 4:15."[7]
/(Alright, let's go on.
Christ's compassion is also like the hen's in that:)/
The Hen Calls To Her Chicks.
"The Hen clucks often, and with a mournful voice, as it were, calls her chickens to her, when she perceives they are in danger by the hawk, or any other enemy, of being destroyed."[8]
        Have you ever observed a mother hen looking after her young?
If she sees a hawk circling overhead, she instinctively gives a warning sound, and immediately the baby chicks come running to hide beneath her wings.
When menacing storm clouds fill the sky with rolling thunder and jagged lightning, she quickly makes a noise that beckons her brood to herself where they find protection from the elements.
As night approaches and the shadows lengthen, she gives a quiet call that gathers her young to rest.
\\         "Christ calls to poor and helpless and impenitent sinners very often, with a mournful voice, and tears in His eyes."[9]
John 7:37-38, "Now on the last day, the great /day/ of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, `If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.
He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, "From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water."'"
J. Gordon says, "The sincere milk of the Word may be dispensed so frigidly and unfeelingly as to make it hard to receive.
I'm told that in Siberia the milkmen often deliver their products in chunks, not in containers, because it is frozen solid.
This is sometimes the way we are given God's Word.
It's the pure article--sound, orthodox, and unadulterated--but it is congealed into logical formulas and hardened and chilled by excessive reasonings."
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