31 On that very day some Pharisees came, saying to Him,
"Get out and depart from here, for Herod wants to kill You."
32 And He said to them, "Go, tell that fox,
'Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.'
33 Nevertheless I must journey today, tomorrow, and the day following;
for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.
34 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!
35 See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you,
you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say,
'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!' "
Luke 13:31-35 (NKJV)
I remember the first time kayaking at Camp Glisson as part of their outdoor adventure program called Summit Camp. That first year, I learned about the history of Dahlonega and the gold rush. The promise of easy gold paid out for only a few. If you’ve ever gone panning up Consolidated Gold Mines, you learn quick what most of those gold rush miners discovered – it is a hard road to make a living mining. The promise of easy riches didn’t work out so well.
Are you more inclined to align your life with the promises offered by earthly rulers or can you make sense of your life by bringing it in line with establishing God's kingdom? Call them politicians if it makes it more palatable but don't be confused because we live in the United States. Be wary as well of those who wear religious garbs too.
Do not forget the lesson of the past week...the time of testing. Just a week has gone by and how quickly, how soon, we forget the testing time Jesus faced in the desert. Jesus understood clearly that the glory road, the path to Jerusalem, the way to the cross, was not going to be paved by good intentions or a complacent Christ.
We prefer to keep our religious life and private life separate, kind of like an egg carton, keep our lives compartmentalized and in a shell. If they break, well then, they may run together – get all mixed up. Be religious on Sunday. Be an employee/employer/student/teacher during the weekdays. Be a family on weeknights. Be the party animal on Friday and Saturday night. All of our nice compartments – don't overturn them – we like them this way. We resist change. Keep things comfortable.
This encounter and the words shared between Jesus and the Pharisees seem strange to our ears. Yet, there is something familiar here. I'm reminded of a conversation I heard years ago, one regarding the growing popularity of Christian Contemporary music and the early days of establishing services similar to our 9:51 service. The lady said, “I don't want to hear the music on the radio in my church. One belongs in my personal life and the other belongs in my church!”
But Jesus, in this passage, seems to care less what makes anyone comfortable. We can't really get a good read on the Pharisees – do they care about what happens to Jesus or do they really want him gone? Jesus doesn't care. He tells them to go back to Herod an address him with an insult! Clearly Jesus' isn't concerned much for Herod either. Jesus has a time table today – tomorrow – the third day = God the Father has laid out a path all the way to Jerusalem where the people will make their own decision.
Luke identifies three groups, groups, which aren’t so different than groups we find today. I characterize them as…
1. The Powerful: Herod (government)
2. The Pompous: Pharisees (religious)
3. The People: Jerusalem (majority)
Jesus, as always, is very careful with his choice of words and we should take note of the parallel structure of verse 32 & 33. The words emphasize that being perfected (or becoming complete) is the goal. To reach that goal, one is to travel the way of suffering OR the way of brokenness. (See Hebrews 2:10 “made perfect (complete) through suffering”).
The verb poreuomai (keep going – must journey) re-iterates the way or trajectory Jesus is on: first, to suffering and death on the cross and then on from there to glorification. Now, to have glory, to be glorified means to be someone of great importance. Jesus is saying to those who are resistant, “You are not the ones to determine when things are complete! I am on the journey to completeness. It will come when I’ve suffered, died and am raised and then you will see clearly the great importance of who I AM!”
Along the glory road, the road Jesus calls us to follow him along, you are going to find those who will resist, those who will seek to pull you down. It is costly after all. I have at times resisted myself. Haven’t you wanted power? Has the pomp and preaching seemed attractive? Have you been tempted by the praise of people? The packaging of the world may change but what is inside is still counterfeit, it is like fools gold in the rivers of north Georgia. The glory road will be hard. Loving like Jesus does is costly. We may not even see much benefit but it leads to a glory which never fades.