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Purpose and Perseverance
This week’s gospel text from Luke presents another temptation for Jesus. The Pharisees approach Jesus with a warning about his safety, telling him to “get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you” (Luke 13:31). Not only do the Pharisees want Jesus to leave, but one can assume they also want Jesus to stop doing what he was doing: speaking against the Pharisees, teaching about God, and healing on the sabbath. We know the Pharisees are “very hostile” (Luke 11:53) toward Jesus, so we can conclude that their warning is not a genuine expression of concern but rather an attempt to stop his mission and ministry.
However, Jesus will not be distracted or turned away from his purpose, even if that includes moving toward his own death in Jerusalem. In Jesus’ ability to fulfill his purpose, even in the midst of opposition, we find inspiration as we seek to live our lives in concert with God’s purposes. As Christians, Jesus’ purpose is our purpose. The church, the body of Christ, doesn’t exist for itself. Rather, the church exists to be a partner with God in God’s mission to love, bless, and reconcile the world.
Gospel: Luke 13:31-35
Neither Herod’s plotting nor Jerusalem’s resistance to maternal love will deter Jesus from his sacrificial mission.
31At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to [Jesus,] “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. 33Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ 34Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 35See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ”