The Gospel of Luke: a commentary & meditation 
Averting disaster

Scripture: 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: Do you have adequate security for averting disaster? When some of the Pharisees warned Jesus to flee from the wrath and destruction of king Herod, he, in turn, warned them about spiritual disaster and how to avert it!  Like John the Baptist and all the prophets who preceded him, Jesus posed a threat to the ruling authorities of his day.  Jesus went so far as to call Herod a "fox".  What did he mean by such an expression?  The fox was regarded as the slyest of all animals and the most destructive as well.  The fox was also a symbol of a worthless and insignificant individual.  It takes great courage to 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 danger, but he prayed for his persecutors and for those who rejected the prophets whom God had sent.  Do you pray for your enemies and for those who oppose the gospel today?

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 (Ps. 91:4). Jesus willingly set his fact 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.  Jesus' prophecy is a two-edged sword, pointing to his victory and redemption 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).  Is your desire for the heavenly city, Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2)?  And is your life securely submitted to the lordship of Jesus Christ?

"Lord Jesus, in you I place all my trust and hope.  May I wholly desire you and your will above all else and long for the heavenly city Jerusalem as my true home and refuge.  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."

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 (c) 1999 Don Schwager