Speaking Truth to Power

Some Pharisees approached, saying to him, “Go away, leave here, for Herod wants to kill You.”

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.’ Nevertheless I must journey on today and tomorrow and the next day; for it cannot be that a prophet would perish outside of Jerusalem.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!

“Behold, your house is left to you desolate; and I say to you, you will not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ” (Luke 13:31-35)

Jesus did not always speak with kind and gentle words. Jesus purposely insulted the tetrarch of Galilee and Perea, Herod Antipas. This was the same Herod who had killed John the Baptist. According to Jewish tradition, foxes were cunning, but lowly animals.

It’s also worth noting that Jesus, as the Messiah and a descendent of David, had a legitimate claim to the Jewish throne, while Herod did not. He was illegitimate, serving at the whim of the Roman occupiers. The law of Moses prohibited the cursing of a ruler, while New Testament authors spoke against saying evil things about one another. However, those prohibitions were not intended to prevent legitimate criticism of rulers by God’s prophets, apostles and people.

Jesus did not fear for his life. The Pharisees’ attempt to scare Jesus away failed. No human being could thwart his ministry or purpose. God’s will cannot be resisted, after all. And yet, Jesus bewails the fate of Jerusalem, a city he wanted to save and comfort, but whose crooked ways and resistance prevented any solace then. Did this mean that Jerusalem could resist God’s will? No. Jesus knew that his will for Jerusalem’s redemption and peace could be achieved only by sending it through some dark times first. Its destruction by the Romans a generation later was part of his will, too.

God’s will is accomplished in his timing. It usually takes awhile for God to do what needs doing. God believes a slow cooked sauce is preferable to the instant variety.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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