We’re looking at the ministry of Jesus as recorded in Luke’s Gospel. Luke usually shows Jesus’ teaching, then gives an example of how He walks it out. Here, Luke is continuing this pattern.
In the middle of chapter 13, Jesus gives a parable of a mustard seed that grew into a tree. He was showing how unstoppable the kingdom of God is. The Lord now shows it by His ministry.
At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.”
Luke 13:31 NIV
Obviously, not all of the Pharisees were opposing Jesus. We know from the Gospels that some of them were secret believers in Him as the Messiah. They usually kept quiet about it because the ones who opposed Jesus held the most political power.
This group heard, through their channels, that Herod was out to kill the Lord. Concerned about His safety, they warned Christ about it.
I love the Lord’s reaction to this.
He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day — for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!”
Luke 13:32-33 NIV
The Lord makes it clear to these Pharisees that He has no intention of changing His plans. Not only that, but He states that they could even go ahead and tell Herod where He would be.
Jesus got His marching orders from the Holy Spirit. He had no fear for His safety. He knew that if He was to minister in these towns, then nothing could stop Him.
Of course, the Lord also knew for a fact that He was going to die in Jerusalem. With that knowledge, He knew that there was nowhere else that He could be attacked. He was safe in the center of God’s will.
That should speak to us as well. Our greatest goal should be to know and walk in God’s plan for our lives. That’s the position of safety and fulfillment.
But that brings me another thought. In my flesh, knowing that I would die in Jerusalem, I would make it a point to never set foot in that city.
However, that didn’t stop the Lord either. He always operated according to the Father’s plans. Knowing what awaited Him, didn’t cause Jesus to shrink back.
But that also didn’t stop Him from grieving over the truth that Jerusalem was the city of godly martyrs.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'”
Luke 13:34-35 NIV
Jesus is saddened because on more than one occasion, He desired to bring all of Israel together under His protection. Yet even though that was His desire, it was not the desire of the Jewish people.
The Lord declares that the point has been reached where they are left desolate. That’s an important word. It means to be solitary, alone and deserted. Throughout Greek literature, it’s used for a flock of sheep deserted by the shepherd, or a wife neglected by her husband.
Israel has chosen a path without their Messiah. Remember, Jesus had warned them about this in the parable of the fig tree (Luke 13:6-9). It’s obvious that at this time they’ve reached the point of no return.
Now the Lord’s goal is to accomplish their salvation on the cross. He will be crucified, buried, and in three days He will rise from the dead. At that point they can repent and receive full forgiveness for their sin.
Let this be a lesson to us. We can’t ignore the call of the Holy Spirit forever. We need to spend the time necessary to hear His voice and obey His Word to us. That’s the real place of safety for our souls.
Question: What has the Spirit been speaking to you lately?
© 2022 Nick Zaccardi