Alternate reading: Luke 6:12-19
GOSPEL READING: Luke 13:31-35
31 At that very hour some Pharisees came, and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32 And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, `Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. 33 Nevertheless I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.’ 34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! 35 Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, `Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'”
Meditation: When your security is threatened and danger strikes do you flee or stand your ground? When King Herod, the ruler of Galilee, heard that thousands of people were coming to Jesus, he decided it was time to eliminate this threat to his influence and power. That is why some of the Pharisees warned Jesus to flee from the wrath of Herod. Jesus, in turn, warned them that they were in greater spiritual danger of losing both soul and body to hell (Matthew 10:28) if they refused to listen to God and to his messengers the prophets (Luke 13:34). Like John the Baptist and all the prophets who preceded him, Jesus posed a threat to the ruling authorities of his day.
Do not fear those who oppose God
Jesus went so far as to call Herod afox. What did he mean by such an expression? The fox was regarded as the slyest of all animals and one of the most destructive as well. Any farmer will tell you how difficult it is to get rid of foxes who under the cover of night steal and destroy. The fox became a symbol of what was worthless, insignificant, and destructive. It takes great courage to stand up and openly oppose a tyrant. Jesus knew that he would suffer the same fate as the prophets who came before him. He not only willingly exposed himself to such danger, but he prayed for his persecutors and for those who rejected the prophets who spoke in God’s name. Do you pray for your enemies and for those who oppose the Gospel message today?
Jesus came to set people free from sin and to give them new life
Jesus contrasts his desire for Jerusalem – the holy city and temple of God – with Jerusalem’s lack of desire for him as their long-expected Messiah. Jesus compares his longing for Jerusalem with a mother hen gathering her chicks under her protective wings. Psalm 91 speaks of God’s protection in such terms: He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge (Psalm 91:4). Jesus willingly set his face toward Jerusalem, knowing that he would meet certain betrayal, rejection, and death on a cross. His death on the cross, however, brought about victory and salvation, not only for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, but for all – both Jew and Gentile – who would accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Open the door of your heart to the Lord Jesus
Jesus’ prophecy is a two-edged sword, pointing to his victory over sin and death and foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem and the dire consequences for all who would reject him and his saving message. While the destruction of Jerusalem’s temple was determined – it was razed by the Romans in 70 A.D. – there remained for its inhabitants a narrow open door leading to deliverance. Jesus says: I am the door; whoever enters by me will be saved (John 10:9).
The Lord Jesus opens the way for each of us to have direct access to God who adopts us as his children and who makes his home with us. Do you make room for the Lord in your life? The Lord is knocking at the door of your heart (Revelations 3:20) and he wishes to enter into a close personal relationship with you. Receive him who is the giver of expectant faith, unwavering hope, and undying love. And long for the true home which God has prepared for you in his heavenly city, Jerusalem (Revelations 21:2-4).
Lord Jesus, I place all my trust and hope in you. Come make your home with me and take possession of my heart and will that I may wholly desire what is pleasing to you. Fill my heart with love and mercy for others that I may boldly witness to the truth and joy of the gospel through word and example, both to those who accept it and to those who oppose it.
Psalm 109: 21-22, 26-27,10
21 But you, O GOD my Lord, deal on my behalf for your name’s sake; because your steadfast love is good, deliver me!
22 For I am poor and needy, and my heart is stricken within me.
26 Help me, O LORD my God! Save me according to your steadfast love!
27 Let them know that this is your hand; you, O LORD, have done it!
30 With my mouth I will give great thanks to the LORD; I will praise him in the midst of the throng.
31 For he stands at the right hand of the needy, to save him from those who condemn him to death.
Daily Quote from the Early Church Fathers: Jesus foreshadows his triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, by Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD)
“‘And I tell you,’ he says, ‘you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.’ What does this mean? The Lord withdrew from Jerusalem and left as unworthy of his presence those who said, ‘Get away from here.’ And after he had walked about Judea and saved many and performed miracles which no words can adequately describe, he returned again to Jerusalem. It was then that he sat upon a colt of a donkey, while vast multitudes and young children, holding up branches of palm trees, went before him, praising him and saying, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’ (Matthew 21:9). Having left them, therefore, as being unworthy, he says that when the time of his passion has arrived, he will then barely be seen by them. Then again he went up to Jerusalem and entered amidst praises, and at that very time endured his saving passion in our behalf, that by suffering he might save and renew to incorruption the inhabitants of the earth. God the Father has saved us by Christ.”(excerpt from COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 100)
Scripture quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Citation references for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers can be found here.
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