Step By Step

November 19, 2004
by Judith Welch

Matthew 23:37 – O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that murders the prophets and stones the messengers sent to her! How often have I longed to gather your children, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings; but you would not let me. (NEB)

Shopping for a birthday gift for my eleven-year-old grandson started me thinking about my own childhood. Back then we made fun out of simple things. I remember that when my cousins came to visit, we often played school. As we sat at the foot of the steps into our home, my oldest cousin acted the role of teacher. Questions were asked of each of us, and every correct answer allowed us to move up one step. I also remember that not all of the children were willing to stay long enough to reach the top step.

I was again reminded of this childhood game while reading Chapter 23 of the Book of Matthew. In this chapter, Jesus was sitting on "The Rabbi's Teaching Steps" (located on the south wall between the two gates to the Temple in Jerusalem) teaching all who would sit and listen. As I read this story, it seemed to me that the people of Jerusalem were just like we were as children. Some stayed to listen. Some did not. This caused Jesus to lament, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! … How often have I longed to gather your children, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings; but you would not let me." (Matthew 23:37 NEB)

As I thought of Jesus sitting on those steps, it seemed to me that His hopes for the people of Jerusalem were the very same hopes He has for us today. Doesn't He still want us to come to Him and to be patient enough to stay and listen? Doesn't He still want to gather us together and teach us about the love of our Father in heaven?

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for the life and teaching of Your Son, Jesus the Christ. Help us, we pray, to find the patience to sit, to listen, and to learn, step-by-step, all that You have planned for us. We ask these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

About the author:

Judith Welch <>
Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

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