Proclamation for Today
by Rev. Dr. Clint Schnekloth
Okay, admittedly Jesus uses no baptismal imagery in his conversation with the Pharisees. His lament is for the city of Jerusalem, and his imagery personifies Jerusalem, as if it were the city itself that killed the prophets, and himself as a mothering hen gathering the children of Jerusalem under his wings. This is startling, gestalt-upending imagery. Basically, Jesus implies in such a statement that he is a New Jerusalem.
Here Jesus speaks in anticipation of his own crucifixion and resurrection, which will be anticipated by an upcoming event, his regal entry into Jerusalem, the people crying out, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Now, this is why we should think about baptism in this context. The dying and rising of Christ we participate in through our baptism into Christ. Remember the line from Luther’s Small Catechism, “[Baptism] signifies that the old [human] in us should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die with all sins and evil lusts, and, again, a new person daily come forth and arise; who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.“ So in the liturgy of baptism, we come to the water, presented like Christ at the gates of the Jerusalem, blessed is this one approaching the waters, and then by the middle of the liturgy, we are taken up, drowned, and killed, in Christ.
In other words, the liturgy of baptism that takes place in our worship services has a shape similar to that which Jesus proclaims of himself about his entry to Jerusalem. The liturgy of baptism can be compared fruitfully to the liturgy of entry into Jerusalem of Jesus. Now, undoubtedly, some listeners will wonder to themselves, “Why did the preacher bring up baptism here when there’s no mention of baptism in the text?” And that’s not a bad question. So you’ll want to give some thought to why the two are connected, and it might be as simple as explaining that during Lent, the church often reflects on the sacraments in light of the life of discipleship, so it makes sense on this Sunday to bring baptism to the text, because baptism is the sacrament par excellance of crucifixion and resurrection.
Finally, one side note. Do you notice that the Pharisees do Jesus a kindness here? The Pharisees and Jesus are so frequently at odds, it serves us well to notice at least in this moment, the Pharisees are attempting to to keep Jesus safe. It’s good and right and proper to notice, and celebrate, when even our enemies act humanely towards us… and then do likewise.
The following links and resources are not produced or maintained by RCL Worship Resources or Clergy Stuff. However, at the time of this posting, the links were active and considered to be good source material for proclamation for the text for this week. Please scroll down or click on the quick jump menu you find below. Click here for more free RCL worship resources & planning materials.
Historical Exegetical Resources
The Five Gospels Parallels, John W. Marshall, University of Toronto.
"Temple and Jesus," The Jesus Database, an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus. Dr. Gregory C. Jenks, FaithFutures Foundation.
"Wide Open Are Your Arms," Mary Hinkle, Pilgrim Preaching: Keeping Company with Biblical Texts and the People Who Hear and Preach Them.
· A Plain Account, Wesleyan Lectionary Commentary, BenCremer, 2016.
· "Not Too Late," Janet H. Hunt, Dancing with the Word, 2016.
· "Herod Wants to Kill You," Dan Clendenin, Journey with Jesus, 2016.
· "Lament over Jerusalem," Suzanne Guthrie, At the Edge of the Enclosure, 2016.
· Commentary, Luke 13:31-35 (Lent 2C), Scott Shauf, Preaching This Week, WorkingPreacher.org, 2013.
· "From Threat to Lament," D Mark Davis, raw translation and exegesis/questions, Left Behind and Loving It, 2013.
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Dramatic Reading of the Text
Readers: Narrator, Pharisees, Jesus
Narrator: At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him,
Pharisees: “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.”
Narrator: He said to them,
Jesus: “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, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ 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! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’”