“Confident in Time of Trouble” Luke 13:31-35
Sunday, October 6, 2013
This morning we shall continue our study of the Gospel of Luke as we take a look at chapter 13, verses 31-35. In this passage we will take note of two types of opposition against Jesus and learn why He was not concerned about either one. Our prayer is that Christ’s followers would follow what Christ modeled for us and apply it to our lives.
Secular Opposition (vs. 31-32)
Jesus, on His way to the cross in Jerusalem, is approached by some Pharisees who say to Him, “get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you” (31). Jesus, in this verse, is made aware of secular opposition. If something is secular then it is non-religious. In this case it was from a governmental authority.
The Herod mentioned here was Herod Antipas. He was the “tetrarch [governor] of Galilee” (Luke 3:1) during the time of Jesus’ ministry. This is the same man who locked John the Baptist in prison and had him beheaded. (Matt 14:10). This Herod is not to be confused with Herod the Great, Herod Antipas’ father, who was the ruler of Judea when Jesus was born. Herod Antipas was a crafty, cunning, cruel and deceitful ruler. He cared little for others and greatly about himself. We know that Herod wanted to see Jesus (Luke 9:9) but now we learn that Herod wants Jesus dead. Most likely, Herod wanted Jesus dead because he viewed Him as a potential rival.
Consider Jesus’ response: “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course.” Jesus understood His opposition was cunning like a fox, but calmly showed that this opposition will not stop Him from carrying out His mission of redemption. Jesus told them to tell Herod that He is not worried about the threat and He will not stop working until the work is done (lit. “finish my course”).
Religious Opposition (vs. 33-35a)
It is interesting to note that Jesus quickly turns His attention away from Herod. Jesus indicates that the main opposition against Him comes not from Galilee but Jerusalem. Jerusalem in this passage represents the religious authorities who “were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus” (Luke 6:11). Jesus says:
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. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! Behold, your house is forsaken.
Jesus knows the cross is coming. In Luke 9:53, we read “when the days drew near for Him to be taken up, He set His face to go to Jerusalem.” Jesus recognized the threat Herod faced, but acknowledged the greater threat to His life: Jerusalem. Jesus isn’t worried about Herod because Herod has no jurisdiction over Jerusalem only Galilee.
It is in this passage we see that Jesus encountered religious opposition wherever He went. Whether it was about the Sabbath (Luke 13:14) or forgiveness of sins (Mark 2:5), there were always religious authorities who opposed Jesus. This is what Jerusalem represents: the religious authorities who are seeking to kill Jesus because they hated Him for His teaching. Like Herod, the most likely reason the religious authorities wanted Jesus dead was because they viewed Him as a rival.
Jesus’ response to the religious authorities is instructive for us: He rebuked them. The religious authorities had strayed far from God and were actually hindering the work of God. This is why Jesus uses the image of a hen gathering her brood but Jerusalem seeking to prevent it. Jesus told Jerusalem that “your house is forsaken” because of your stubborn opposition
Divine Commission (v. 35b)
Jesus faced two main types of opposition during His earthly ministry: secular and religious. What is remarkable is that Jesus is not concerned about either but continues to do the work He is called to do. The reason is found in verse 35: “And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’”. Jesus was not afraid of Herod and was not afraid of Jerusalem because He was confident that He was doing the will of God. Jesus had a divine commission and knew it would be completed.
The United States of America is a wonderful country and we are proud to be here. But what would happen if the USA became hostile to Christianity? What if, for one reason or another, our government takes our tax-exempt status away? What if they oppose our principles to such a degree that they shut down our church and throw us in jail? What if we face secular opposition such as this, what will we do? Like Jesus modeled for us, we will boldly proclaim the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
What if, in the name of religion, we are mistreated and persecuted? What if Islam begins to grow to such a degree that we, as Christians, are oppressed? What if a false brand of Christianity emerges that seeks to destroy true authentic faith? Like Jesus models for us, we will boldly proclaim the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The reason we have this confidence is because we come in the name of the Lord! We are His followers, we have His message, and we have His power. We will finish the work He has called us to do and we will not stop until it is done. Praise the Lord!