Luke 13: 31 – 35 Jesus’ sorrow for Jerusalem
At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, ‘Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.’
He replied, ‘Go and tell that fox, “I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.” In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day – for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!
‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”’
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How interesting! Some Pharisees came to Jesus to warn him that Herod wanted to kill him. I wonder who they were, and why they warned him? Whoever they were, they didn’t want Jesus to suffer the same fate as John the Baptist, killed in an extra-judicial execution.
In fact, Jesus’ teaching is not very far from the teaching of the Pharisees. The expert in the law whose question to Jesus prompted the parable of the good Samaritan answered correctly.
‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’
‘What is written in the Law?’ he replied. ‘How do you read it?’
He answered, ‘ “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”; and, “Love your neighbour as yourself.” ‘
‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied. ‘Do this and you will live.’ (Luke 10: 25 – 28)
What was distinctively different about Jesus teaching?
Firstly, he taught that he, himself, was the only way to reach God the Father.
Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
Secondly, his emphasis was on the mercy and forgiveness of God rather than rigid adherence to the Mosaic law.
‘Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.’ (Luke 6:36)
Thirdly, he placed much more emphasis on practical works of love than on adherence to the Mosaic law, even to the extent of routinely and intentionally breaking the Sabbath.
On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.’ Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.
Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, ‘There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath. (Luke 13: 10 – 14)
But the biggest thing that showed the difference between Jesus and the Pharisees was his zeal and determination. In today’s passage we see Jesus being warned of the evil intent of Herod. He’s told that Herod wants to murder him.
Does Jesus flee? Does he go into hiding? Does he make his message more palatable for the authorities?
Jesus tells those who had warned him, to return to Herod, and tell him that he will continue casting out demons and healing. He will go to Jerusalem where he knows he will be put to death. God’s message to the world is so important that Jesus yields everything to deliver it.
Is my zeal like Jesus?
Or am I a Pharisee?
Thank you for the life and example of Jesus. Please help me to be more like Jesus and less like the Pharisees. Help me to yield to your will for me.
In Jesus’ name, Amen