INTRODUCTION to READINGS BY Adrienne Burton
LUKE 13: 31 – 35
ALTHOUGH LENTEN SCRIPTURE CAN BE DOWNGETTING WE ARE NOW IN A PERIOD OF NECESSARY SOBER REFLECTION. IN ORDER TO CELEBRATE EASTER, THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD, WE MUST SWALLOW OUR FEELINGS OF DOWNNESS, NOT GIVING IN TO THE URGE TO RACE AHEAD TO THE CHOCOLATES EGGS AND DAFFODILS OF EASTER SUNDAY.
WHEN I READ THIS MORNING’S SHORT SCRIPTURE, KNOWN AS ‘LAMENT TO THE NATIONS,’ I GULPED AS I NOTED JESUS’ WORD ‘FOX’, REFERRING TO KING HEROD( IS HEROD THE ONLY HUMAN JESUS HAS EXPRESSED SEVERE DISLIKE FOR? HEROD THE MURDERER OF BOY BABIES, HOPING TO ENSNARE THE CHILD JESUS?) PLUS TALK OF STONING AND KILLING. I SEARCHED IN MY ACCESS BIBLE TO HELP US INTERPRET THIS SHORT LENTEN PASSAGE.
WHEN JESUS CALLS HEROD ‘THAT FOX’ – WHICH TO US MEANS SOMEONE VERY CLEVERLY DECEPTIVE OR ONE WHO COULD HURT OR EAT YOU – IT’S BECAUSE HEROD WISHED TO GET JESUS OUT OF JERUSALEM. TRADITIONALLY PROPHETS PERISHED WITHIN THE WALLS OF JERUSALEM, THUS JESUS WOULD NOT BE A PROPHET WERE HE TO BE RUN OUT OF JERUSALEM. JESUS NOW REMINDS OTHERS, NOT FOR THE FIRST TIME, OF THEIR FAILURE TO EMBRACE HIM. TWICE HE PREDICTS OMINOUSLY HIS JUST THREE MORE DAYS OF HEALING.
A MOVING TOUCH ARE HIS WORDS OF WANTING TO GATHER HIS CHILDREN TOGETHER UNDER HIS WINGS, AS WOULD A MOTHER HEN TO PROTECT HER CHICKS FROM A COMING STORM. BUT BACK TO SOBERNESS; JESUS IS FRUSTRATED!
THE LAST WORDS IN THIS PASSAGE: “BLESSED IS THE ONE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD” ARE TOUGH AND DAUNTING WORDS!!
Jesus’ Sorrow for Jerusalem
31 At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.”
32 He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ 33 In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!
34 “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, and you were not willing. 35 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.’
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!’”