October 31 – Luke 13:31-35

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Luke 13:31-35 – Jerusalem, Jerusalem.

Following Jesus’ teaching about so many of the Jews being left out of the kingdom of God, he goes on to illustrate their complete rejection. At the same time, he offers a view of the sense of divine purpose that drives him to the end.

Among the Pharisees there were a few who believed in Jesus’ mission and his teaching. We know two names, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. Some of these people came to warn Jesus, not understanding that his destiny had long since been planned.

In Luke 13:32, Jesus calls Herod a fox. While this might connote cleverness today, in that day, it was a term of derision for an insignificant person. No matter what it was that Herod did or said, it would not deter Jesus from his mission.

In the same verse, Jesus makes references to a time frame. He will cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow and the third day he will finish his course. Luke and his readers would have recognized the words as prophetic even though Jesus’ listeners might not have heard them that way.

Jesus speaks the word “Jerusalem” three times in a row, drawing the listener’s attention to his point of destination and to the city that he loves. Again, his words prophesy his coming crucifixion. He knows that he will be killed as a prophet and that he will be persecuted for the relationship he has with his Father.

Right now he is far from the city. Maybe he can look off in the distance and see it. He yearns for the people of Israel to respond to the call of God. Jesus knows that he is the only one who can offer protection from the sad situation in which they will find themselves and yet they are not willing to sacrifice their own willful disobedience and experience freedom in the kingdom of God.

The house in Jerusalem, the very Temple in which Jesus sat as a boy, is forsaken and the people will be left to their own devices. There is nothing more Jesus can do.