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God’s Word for You

Luke 13:31-33 Jesus’ goal

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, September 12, 2018

31 Just at this time some Pharisees came and said to him. “Go away. Leave this place, because Herod wants to kill you.” 32 He replied, “Go tell that fox: See, today and tomorrow I am driving out demons and performing healings, and on the third day I reach my goal.  33 Nevertheless today and tomorrow and the next day I must go on, since it is unimaginable for a prophet to die outside Jerusalem.

The journey Jesus made to Jerusalem was a straight path in his mind, heart, and resolve, but sometimes it had to weave and turn because of geography or the schemes of his enemies.

We need to make a choice as we read this passage: Is it the truth? The verse is true; truly it is what was said to Jesus, for everything in Scripture is the truth (John 17:17). But were the Pharisees mistaken, were they lying, or was Herod lying?

Jesus calls Herod a fox, a sly or tricky person. Jesus himself recognized who it was who was lying: Herod. Jesus knew that Herod didn’t really want him dead, he just wanted Jesus to go away. The real request was simply: “Go away. Leave this place.” Herod wanted Jesus out of his territory (Galilee and Perea). Jesus, however, had his own plan in mind. This is what he described with the work of “today and tomorrow,” the immediate future. He was going to go right on healing and driving out demons, which also meant that he was going to go right on preaching law and gospel as he traveled around from place to place, whether Herod wanted him around or not. But look how neatly Jesus wove in a direct, literal prophecy about his “goal,” which was to be crucified and rise on the third day, “the next day.” At the same time, he remembered the many prophets who were put to death in Judea, especially in Jerusalem.

Look at how clearly and fiercely Jesus kept his goal before his own eyes, referring to it constantly, especially here in the final year of his ministry. He was teaching us to do the same thing, to keep the crucifixion before our eyes, on our minds, and in our hearts all the time. Is this to make us feel grief over the death of our Lord? No! It is to give us comfort when we have sinned, which is constantly, so that we remember the reason that our Lord came into the world. His death means our peace, just as his resurrection means our everlasting life. Treasure these things always.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

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