Luke 13 v 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.”
It seems strange for Luke to record in the previous verses (v 27) that Jesus himself, the Saviour of the world would bar people from access to eternal life. After all, did Jesus not come precisely to give eternal life? The answer is, of course, yes, but only to those who believe. In addition we should read today’s verses to get the full story and to see the other side of the coin.
The Pharisees report to Jesus that Herod is out to kill him and therefore he should move on. At this point Jesus was headed toward Jerusalem but had not yet reached there. It appears he was somewhere in Herod’s jurisdiction where the power of the Pharisees was not that strong. It is also surprising that Pharisees came to warn him. They are not represented as being that friendly to Jesus. Perhaps both Pharisees and Herod wanted him out of their territory. But Jesus was quite used to being unwanted and was not intimidated by it.
Consider Herod for a moment. There are different Herods in the gospel story. This ruler began his reign in the year 4 BC and was going to continue in that capacity until AD39. This was the Herod who had John the Baptist beheaded and who seemed very perplexed by Jesus as recorded in Luke 9 verses 7-9. Maybe he feared Jesus in some way and suspected Jesus might lead some revolution or uprising. Whatever the truth, he did not want Jesus in his territory.
Christ sent Herod a very sharp-worded warning in verse 32. A fox was a small, cunning and insignificant animal which is how Jesus saw him. Herod’s threats were certainly not going to either hurry Christ up or slow him down. Why? “I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow” (v 32). In other words: “I am on duty displaying God’s love and mercy to the needy. I am on God’s timetable, and you, Herod, are not going to drive me from it.”
Christ was following a divinely fore-ordained course through this world and he was not scared by threats – especially from one such as Herod. But note “on the third day I will reach my goal.” (v 32) This is not a reference to His resurrection but rather a way of saying, “In God’s time, when all I need to do has been done, I will reach my goal”.
It’s a good thing for us to remember. Sometimes we become so fretful because of life and its hassles. We may not be threatened by a king like Herod, but we may feel terribly harassed by circumstances or family troubles. But remember your life’s course has also been planned by God. Jesus is a great example for us all to keep on being faithful no matter where the difficulties come from. Jesus had a divine plan to fulfil. On a much smaller scale you and I have plans to fulfil too. Fear not. Keep at it.