Luke 13:31-35 (ESV)
At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 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. 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. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’”
Notice that Jesus’ message to Herod doesn’t end until the end of verse 33. “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. 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.’ ”
Jesus isn’t just telling His audience that He must not die outside Jerusalem; He’s telling Herod.
His point is mainly to disrespect Herod. So Jesus begins by calling Herod a fox – which isn’t exactly the king of beasts. Then He points out that He has been performing numerous miracles and that He’s going to keep on doing that, regardless. This is a clear put-down.
But then comes the surprise. He acknowledges to Herod that Herod has the power to kill Him. So, He’s going to hit the road after all. Instead of completing the put-down by implying that Herod has absolutely no power to influence anything, Jesus does almost the opposite.
The combination yields an important message. Herod’s weakness isn’t that he can’t kill the body; he can do that. His weakness is that this power doesn’t matter all that much.
It’s like realizing that a fox has the ability to steal your chickens, so you put up a fence. Yes, it’s a concession to the fox’s power, but you just solve it and move on. Big deal.
The take-away is to recognize the power of the evil one and just address it.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. – Eph. 6:11 (ESV)
We get way too cocky about dealing with the enemy. Yes, the cross has defeated Satan, but the forces of evil often score major points against us. We let down our guard at our peril.
One of the classic mistakes a Christian can make is to assume that we will be held to the same standard as everyone else. That’s not the way it works. We don’t “get lucky” when it comes to getting away with stuff.
Things done in secret aren’t as secret as we might think.
and give no opportunity to the devil. – Ephesians 4:27 (ESV)
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