When the Savior taught during the ancient times, He frequently used metaphors to give the people He was teaching a clearer picture of His messages. Some of these metaphors are easy to understand, while some can leave one puzzled. One of the messages that often stand out in both the New Testament and The Book of Mormon is the Savior’s “hen metaphor” where He compares Himself to a hen. Why – of all creatures – would Christ compare Himself to a hen? Here are some of the reasons behind.
A Filipino Take on the Metaphor
When we were younger, our grandmother enjoyed telling us stories about her youth. One of the stories we can still clearly remember was one that involved eagles, hens, and chicks. During her time, large birds often fly mightily in the sky looking for a helpless prey. It was easy to know when a predator is nearby – mother hen will suddenly be on full alert, quickly gathering her chicks under her wings.
To our grandmother, the story of the hen and her chicks was a powerful example of a mother’s love. Recalling this story, it made much more sense why the Savior used the “hen metaphor” to express His love and patience for us.
Christ Warns Us of Danger
Like the mother hen, Christ knows of the danger that lurks nearby. In the New Testament, He often gave warnings to His disciples and His apostles. The same protection is given to us in these modern days. Today, these warnings can received from Prophets and Apostles ordained with proper authority to receive revelations from the Lord to help the people prepare for challenges, calamities, and spiritual dangers.
Christ Gathers Us To Save Us From the Predator
In these modern days, the power and the influence of the adversary has become more and more evident. Predators – events and people – that can lead one entangled to sin are everywhere, and they can sometimes be subtle. Through the Lord’s invitation to obey His commandments, we can be “gathered” into safety. Through the Lord’s atonement, we can run away from danger, repent, and find safety and peace in Christ.
We Can Find Peace and Safety in Christ
Together with His “hen metaphor,” comes a plea from the Savior. In 3 Nephi, Jesus Christ implored:
6 O ye house of Israel whom I have aspared, how oft will I gather you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if ye will repent and breturn unto me with full purpose of cheart.
One message is clear: we are always worthy of the Lord’s peace and safety but we must make the necessary steps to enjoy them. Our desire and actions towards full repentance allow us to partake of the protection and blessings of being “under the wings” of the Lord.
The Savior’s choice to choose to compare Himself to a hen bravely gathering her chicks to safety is an expression of His desire for us – safety from evil, peace, happiness. May that image of love and protection always remind us of the immeasurable love the Lord has for us.