Luke 13:31-35 (ESV)
31 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32 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. 33 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.’ 34 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! 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!’”
While Jesus warned those around him about being shut out of the kingdom, some Pharisees approached him. They let Jesus know that Herod wished to kill him. This Herod was Herod Antipas. The Herod family ruled Palestine in the first century. This Herod didn’t want any problems, and apparently he thought Jesus posed a threat to the peace of his domain. Jesus’ message back to Herod was that he would continue his ministry and mission. The goal of Jesus was Jerusalem. He came to finish what God sent him to do. Jesus had his course mapped out, and he was right on track. He had nothing to fear from Herod, as he already knew he would meet death in Jerusalem. Jesus then lamented, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem.” He used a double vocative to show compassion and care. He spoke to the nation as her prophet, even calling himself a prophet. Jesus said he longed to gather the nation together as a hen gathers her chicks under the protection of her wings. What a beautiful picture of the love and compassion God feels toward his people. And yet he couldn’t, because they were not willing.
The people of Israel would not see Jesus until the time when they would say he was the blessed one who came in the name of the Lord. The crowd would quote this phrase in the near future when Jesus entered Jerusalem, and one day, when Jesus comes back to Jerusalem, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” will be boldly proclaimed yet again. But for now, instead of being gathered under the wings of the Lord, the city of Jerusalem would be like an empty house. It is encouraging to see how Jesus wasn’t afraid of Herod. He knew that God had marked a day and time that he would die, and that point had not arrived yet. For each of us, God has determined the exact hour and moment we will leave this planet. One preacher of the past, Charles Spurgeon, wisely said, “I am immortal till my work is done. Till the Lord wills it, no vault can close upon me.” If you are anxious or troubled today, be encouraged by this truth. God knows exactly when your time will be up. Until then, press on for Jesus! No one can get in the way of God’s plan for your life and ministry.