Time in the Scriptures
Pray: Ask God for insight into today’s reading.
Today’s reading takes place when Jesus is on his final journey to Jerusalem. His activity has riled up the Pharisees.
Read: Luke 13:31-35
Verses 31-33 occur only in Luke, and there is no consensus on their meaning. But a few things are clear. The Pharisees warn Jesus that he has riled up Herod (the government) — just as Nehemiah’s work had upset Sanballat and Tobiah. They tell Jesus he must leave, for Herod is out to kill him.
Jesus’ response in verse 32 is enigmatic; interpreters vary widely on what he might mean. But clearly he is taking his cues from God, not from Herod. What do you think he means?
Verse 34 is seen as “anti-Semitic” by some: it blames Jerusalem, capital of Israel, for killing God’s prophets. It’s important to realize that the New Testament has been used, in our lifetimes, to defend horrific violence against Jews; the Holocaust was committed by Nazis with the support of the official state church.
But when we read the Bible, we are to identify with Israel. The “Old Testament” is Israel’s Bible, Jesus’ Bible, and the New Testament says that God has graciously grafted the Gentiles (that’s us) in with Israel, the chosen people.
Verse 34 sings the lament of the ages: that God wants only to care for us, but we respond to God’s loving care with rejection and a desire to have it our way. In your own life story, what are some ways you have “killed the prophets”? How have you rejected God’s word?
The people do respond to Jesus with “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” on Palm Sunday. A few days later they participate in his death. Having cut a covenant with Abram, God suffers the consequences of the broken covenant, even though we were the ones who broke it.
Pray for those who are struggling with their government.
Caring through Action
Support someone who is dealing with government. If you know someone who is opposing, or serving in, government, you might send them a note of encouragement.