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More on the Divine Christology Series


Note on the banner graphic and that strange-looking hen with chicks

This mosaic is found in the Dominus Flevit Church on the Mount of Olives outside Jerusalem. Dominus Flevit is Latin for "the Lord wept" and refers to Jesus' tearful appeal to the city of Jerusalem during his journey into the city (Luke 10–19). The "mother bird" is a metaphor Jesus uses for himself in Luke 13:34 (which is the verse written around the mosaic, in Latin) to describe his earnest desire to save the people of God, if only they would repent and turn to him:

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 mother bird gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!

As I argue at length in my book on early divine Christology, this complex metaphor draws on the OT concept of YHWH as the "mother bird" for his people as well as his desire to "gather" the elect Israelites from their exile. In remapping this two-fold concept to himself, Jesus is expressing in a subtle but robust way that he is what YHWH described himself to be. 

— Greg Lanier