The Threat on Jesus' Life
June 7, 2020 Speaker: Dr. Rick Gregory Series:
Topic: Guidance / Holy Spirit Verse: Luke 13:31–13:33
Theme: The death of Christ was God’s idea, not men’s … because of His love for you.
Introduction: Believers are aware that their lives depend upon two primary factors: 1) The Purpose of God; and, 2) The Power of God. If our God is incapable to accomplish His purpose, then all is lost. However, our faith in Him enables us to have confidence that He will accomplish His purposes in our lives – cp. Romans 8:28. This is what enables believers to face adversity without crumbling in fear – cp. Acts 4:13.
The greatest evidence of such confidence was found in Jesus’ complete devotion to the purpose and power of God as He conducted His life leading up to the cross. He faced constant harassment, opposition, hostility, and plots to eliminate Him. From religious hypocrites to political authorities, Jesus received opposition, yet remained resolute, confident, and submissive to the Lord. In our text we have forces converging that were designed to lead Jesus to the cross, and such threats did not deter Him.
I. The Resistance through Feigned Support – 13:31
A. The Plot to Be Rid of Jesus
- The animosity the Pharisees had toward Jesus was a cauldron of hate that bubbled and perked
- From the very beginning of Jesus' ministry when He entered the Temple and cleansed it, the Pharisees and Chief Priests desired to kill Him – cp. John 2:18-21; Mark 3:6; John 5:18; John 7:1, 25; 11:47-53.
- It was not a matter of if they would kill Jesus, but when and our text shows the initial maneuver to get Him to Jerusalem.
B. The Ploy to Initiate the Plot
- Luke advances the narrative toward the death of Christ by highlighting this first maneuver by the Pharisees to kill Jesus – “Just at that time some Pharisees approached, saying to Him, ‘Go away, leave here, for Herod wants to kill you.’”
- It seems that the Pharisees determined that getting Jesus to Jerusalem would provide them the prestige of avenging themselves against this blasphemer – something they didn’t want to lose to Herod (Antipas), the son of Herod the Great and ruler of Perea and Galilee.
- Herod Antipas had been curious about Jesus – desiring to witness the miracles and divine display Jesus was reputed to have to power to perform – cp. Matthew 14:1-2; Luke 9:7-9.
- However, Jesus had avoided Herod and he apparently viewed Jesus – whom some desired to make king – as a threat to his reign.
- The Pharisees had been repeatedly embarrassed by Jesus' superior teaching, deftness in exchanges, and command of truth – often making the Pharisees blush in embarrassment.
- They truly desired to get Jesus to Jerusalem so that He would be under the jurisdiction of the Sanhedrin and the jealousy of the Pharisees could be unleashed.
How are we to process people’s advice who are not supportive of Christ Jesus or God’s Word?
What is an example from your past where you attempted to sidestep Jesus and His authority?
What gives to us confidence that a person is truly faithful to Christ?
II. The Reiteration of Faithful Submission – 13:32
A. The Faithfulness to God’s Providence
- Jesus sees through their ploy and simultaneously comments on the superiority of God’s authority over man’s – “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 reach My goal.”’”
- “Herod is the only individual in the New Testament for whom the Lord expressed such contempt.”
- Jesus’ point was that like a fox that spoils vines and makes itself a nuisance, Herod was incapable to thwarting the purpose of God.
- Jesus remains completely faithful to God’s providence in safeguarding His purposes as Christ continues to honor Him.
- “He who is master of demons and diseases remains serenely undisturbed by any barking of a tricky fox.”
- There is no way that Herod was going to commandeer God’s purpose for Jesus to die for the sins of the people in Jerusalem.
B. The Faithfulness to God’s Purpose
- The reference to “… today and tomorrow, and the third day I reach My goal” does not refer to the resurrection.
- It is a saying that communicated completion of the process – Jesus would continue to do what He was doing until the accomplishment of God’s purposes were fulfilled – cp. Exodus 19:10-11.
- The reference also suggests that Jesus knew that His days were short, and as the next verse shows, He is not far from leaving there anyway to head to Jerusalem.
- “reach My goal” [τελειόω] – is a present passive – indicating that He was being brought by the will of God and in the unfolding of His purpose to a point of completion.
- The “My goal” in this context is the crucifixion – the work of atonement at the appointed hour set by the Father.
- Jesus realizes that “goal” is near and Herod will not interfere with God’s plan.
- During days of turmoil, it is easy to become anxious … how does Jesus’ example of confidence help you?
- Do you struggle with accepting God’s will for your life when things don’t seem to be turning out the way you want?
- How do you think you ought to process disappointment?
III. The Recognition of the Final Stop – 13:33
A. The Determination to Fulfill His Mission
- Jesus continues and said, “Nevertheless, I must journey on today and tomorrow and the next day …”
- In this phrase, Jesus indicated that He saw the need to continue faithfully performing His ministry through the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of the Father.
- No circumstance Herod could create would stand in the way of God’s purposes from being fulfilled.
- Throughout Jesus’ life, He was keenly aware of the “goal” that the Father had set for Him and was completely determined to live accordingly – cp. John 2:4; 8:20; 12:23; 13:1; John 17:1.
- The implication is that Jesus would move on from Perea into Judea only when it was the Father’s purpose for Him to do so.
B. The Destination for Fulfilling His Mission
- Jesus knew that His death would be in Jerusalem where the convergence of God’s plan would be consummated – “… for it cannot be that a prophet would perish outside of Jerusalem.”
- This is a proverbial statement by Jesus indicating the culpability that the city of Jerusalem had in its past and in the present unfolding of God’s purposes for the killing of those sent to it by God.
- Now, the consummate prophet, The Prophet, anticipated by the ancient prophecies of Scripture would likewise die that the hands of these converging forces in Jerusalem – cp. Deuteronomy 18:18; Acts 3:22-24.
- Yet, the responsibility for the death of Christ is not able to be located in one place or among only one group of people.
- The nation of Israel is guilty – cp. Matthew 27:25.
- The religious leaders were guilty – cp. Matthew 26:65-66.
- The Gentiles were guilty – Acts 4:27
- Yet the ultimate cause was the purpose of God to redeem sinners – Acts 2:23.
How does Jesus’ complete resolve to suffer for your sins impact you today?
Jesus’ life demonstrated complete submission to the Father – does this motivate or discourage you in your daily life? … why or how?
Pause to ponder the resoluteness of Christ in going to Jerusalem … in what ways does this convince you that He cares for you soul?
- The hatred for Christ and the righteousness of God found in Him that caused the religious hypocrites to desire His death is the same in people who reject Him today.
- When things go wrong, or circumstances seem bleak, we must turn to the Lord who sovereignly unfolds His purposes without a hitch.
- There is absolute confidence available to the person who is seeking the will of God; regardless if experiences become difficult.
- The example set by Christ serves as a pattern for our own fulfillment of what we know to be the will of God – remain true, confident and committed.
- Jesus Christ lived and died for you – He went to Jerusalem knowing that He would die for your sins; have you repented of them and trusted Him?