Lent Week 2 Readings: Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18, Psalm 27, Philippians 3:17-4:1, Luke 13:31-35, Luke 9:28-36
There are powerfully competing desires in Luke 13:31-35. Herod wants to kill Jesus, Jesus wants to rescue Jerusalem and her people, Jerusalem does not want Jesus. The result of this unhappy triangulation is Jesus will be killed in Jerusalem and Jerusalem will be destroyed. Despite Jesus wanting better things, why did it come to this?
It is clear what Herod wants is no threat to Jesus. Herod’s preferred tool is fear. He had killed John the Baptist, now he is after Jesus. The Pharisees urge Jesus to move out of Herod’s reach. Living within God’s will, Jesus is always out of Herod’s reach, wherever he is located. Jesus is clearly not afraid of Herod. He will continue about his daily work of deliverance and healing. He knows he will reach God’s intended goal. There is nothing Herod can do about it. It seems God will get what God wants.
Jerusalem does not want Jesus. Tragically this is what Jerusalem gets. Jesus knows he will be like many prophets before sent to the holy city. He will die in Jerusalem. From Luke 9:51 Jesus has been intentionally making his way to Jerusalem knowing he will suffer, be rejected, will be killed and on the third day will be raised to life. Jesus is not surprised by this conclusion, but this is not what Jesus wants. What Jesus wants is what God has always wanted. For Jerusalem to hear, to respond, to repent, to obey. The image he uses
Here is a frightening insight: what God wants for you is not enough, you must want it too. Our rejection of what God wants keeps the protection, rescue and blessing of God out of our lives. Our power to make choices is clearly not enough to frustrate the purposes of God but is enough to impact our own life and destiny. Heed the lesson: we need to be very careful with what we want.
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 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.’”