31 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32 He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. 33 Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ 34 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 35 See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when[b] you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
I see in this interaction between Jesus and some Pharisee’s a temptation to act to protect and preserve self from danger. It’s natural to want to protect ourselves from danger. It’s just not always helpful. Why? As Jesus experienced here, because sometimes God’s purposes roll out in the midst of such threats and danger. The threat for Jesus – “Herod wants to kill you.”
I don’t usually experience (in fact I’ve never experienced) someone threatening my life like Jesus does here. But daily I can face a threat to my reputation, my prospects, my self-image, especially if I want to live for Jesus. And I can become tempted to self-protect and self-preserve rather than obey and proclaim Jesus. How did Jesus deal with the temptation?
I see in verse 33, that Jesus knew God’s purposes and plans. He had a “must” that was strong within – much stronger than His need to self-protect. That must was – God calls me into this danger. God calls me to keep driving out demons, to keep healing the sick, and to reach my goal of dying to save sin-broken humanity. God calls me to something far bigger than myself.
I see here that knowing my ‘musts’ – God’s purpose and plan for my life and for His world – gives me a strength, a power, and a courage to overcome my natural self-preservation strategies and live boldly for Him. No matter what the threats (perceived or real).
Lord, help me to walk into each new day with the “musts” of your purpose and plan for the world clear in my heart and constantly on my heart. For when the “musts” are clear and constant, the courage to do your will rises strong in my heart and overcomes even my greatest fears. Amen.
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh