2nd Sunday in Lent
February 21, 2016
Gospel: Luke 13:31-35
Epistle: Phil 3:17-4:1
Lesson: Jer 26:8-15
Psalm: Psalm 4
From the New International Commentary on the New Testament: by Norval Geldenhuys
The Pharisees’ warning may have been perfectly sincere and prompted by a concern for Jesus’ safety; on the other hand, some expositors have inferred that, enraged by His words recorded in the foregoing verses, they wished to persuade him to leave Herod’s domain and go where he would be likely to fall into the hands of the Jewish rulers.
31 In Trans-Jordan, where Jesus most probably was at this time, the Jewish authorities did not have much power. The northern part was ruled by Philip and the southern part by Herod Antipas. If, therefore, the Pharisees’ warning was insincere, it may have been calculated to make Jesus flee to Judaea, where He would be more exposed to the power of the Sanhedrin. In the absence of clear evidence to the contrary, however, we should take it that these Pharisees had received intelligence which led them to believe (whether rightly or wrongly) that Jesus’ life was in danger if He remained in Herod’s territory.
32 However, they do not succeed in terrifying Him. On the contrary, He bids them tell Herod–“that fox” (a cunning but weak ruler)–that He intends to defy his threats and stay there to save people from spiritual and physical need until His task in those parts in perfected.
33 But although He is not going to flee through fear of Herod, His activity in the territory of this ruler is speedily approaching its end, and He is, in fact, already steadily advancing further on the road to Jerusalem. It is in the “Holy City” and not in the territory of Herod that He is going to die, for history has taught that it is precisely the “Holy City” that kills the divine messengers. Also on this occasion Jerusalem is not to be robbed of her “privilege”! “There is…a bitter irony in the words. Herod must not be greedy: for Jerusalem has first claim on the blood of God’s messengers” (T.W. Manson, op. cit., p. 569).
34 The Savior is very deeply moved by the hardness of heart of the inhabitants of Jerusalem who through the centuries have again and again misjudged and killed God’s messengers and also rejected all the persevering attempts of Jesus Himself to call them to true repentance. As a hen gathers her brood under her wings to protect them against threatening danger, so He desired to protect them against the impending judgments. With the utmost devotion and self-sacrifice He tried to lead them to spiritual and temporal safety, but they persistently opposed Him.
35 So they can meet with no other end but destruction and the devastation of their temple, the center of their degenerate religion. While the temple was formerly called the house of God, it could no longer be called so after the Jews had rejected Christ. The temple and the people have become forsaken by God, and because His protection has been withdrawn complete destruction will ensue. And so the Jewish people will no longer have their Messiah, Jesus, as a blessing in their midst, until (by the repentance of individual Jews from time to time, and on a wholesale scale at the end of the age) they see and recognize Him as the true Messiah. Read in this connection, Jesus by these words signifies that those who did not accept His salvation while He was with them would, together with all other people (the saved and the unredeemed) at His second coming, acknowledge Him with pangs of conscience as the Christ of God. But then it will be too late.
Christ longs earnestly for the salvation of those who are lost; but when man is determined in his refusal to believe in Him, He ultimately leaves him to final destruction.