“At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ (Luke 13:31-33)
We all know how Lent ends. There is no secret that Jesus’ going to Jerusalem signifies that his ministry is coming to an end. But until then, there is much for Jesus to do, and he says (according to other versions) he can’t spend his time worrying about how others will react.
There is an important message for us here, beloved reader. We know, or should know, how God and Jesus Christ want us to live. It is the carrying out of God’s and Christ’s directives that we should be concerned with, and not how others might take offense at what we say and do.
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’” (Verses 34 – 35)
And if we do put the priorities and acceptance of others ahead of God’s and Christ’s? It is for us then that Jesus mourns and laments – that we have refused and turned away from our Lord.
Okay – I may have stated this to conform to the flow of the passage. It is the people of Jerusalem, the people that Jesus was ministering to that he is lamenting for. Verse 35 is a reference to Psalms 118 verse 26 that is a welcome to one that God has sent, and that certainly and most specifically is Christ. The sense of the verse is that the people of Jerusalem will not see Jesus for who he truly is until they believe. Which closely parallels what I said above.
Verse 34 also deserves mention and consideration. Even though the people of Jerusalem (and by extension us) have turned away (and more) from Jesus, Jesus loves us and desires to protect and enfold us. And that Jesus ended his ministry by sacrificing himself for our sins show us how much Jesus loves us and desires for us to be made whole and pure.
Re-reading this, I can see where I have sort of spread my thoughts and reflections haphazardly, so let me sum up. Jesus did not want to take the time to protect himself, but was going all out to minister to all the people he could reach. If his message and actions upset some, then so be it. He was not going to change just because he and his message were unpopular; we should do no less. Further, Jesus was burdened and grieved for those who were rejecting him, and desired to enfold them in his love and compassion. But he knew that until they believed, they would not see him for who he was and they would not understand the message he was trying to bring. Stated so succinctly, it does not seem like much. But, oh beloved reader . . . it is everything! Selah!