The word, “Pharisee,” is usually reserved for hypocritical, self-righteous, religious persons in our day.
The Pharisees in Jesus’ day were not single dimensional. One of the reasons why Jesus interacted with them so frequently was his desire to help them become his followers.
In today’s passage from Luke, we find the Pharisees warning Jesus about Herod.
— Luke 13.31 – At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.”
I am sure Jesus welcomed their warning, but he was determined to fulfill the Father’s agenda for his life.
Jesus’ Jerusalem Destiny
Jesus made the Pharisees aware that he would not resist God’s purpose for him in Jerusalem.
— Luke 13.32-33 – 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.
“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.’”
Jerusalem was the center of Israel’s worship. The Temple complex covered nearly one-fourth of the city’s geography.
Part of the tragic history of Jerusalem was a consistent resistance to God’s message through the prophets.
Jerusalem had competing voices to God’s word though the prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Hosea.
There always seemed to be religious “voices” who sided with the existing power structures against God’s message through his prophets.
As Jesus journeyed to Jerusalem, he knew that his fate would be similar to the prophets who came before him.
Can people today be influenced by religious leaders, who have joined sides with the existing power structures?
I think the answer is a definite “Yes!”
Paul wrote, “For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires” (2 Timothy 4.3).
Because people have “itching ears,” there are religious leaders who are willing to scratch them for a multitude of reasons.
How can we be sure that we are not being deceived by a leader like this?
(1) A humble, consistent, and prayerful reading of the Bible is a great foundation for knowing and doing God’s will.
(2) Investigate the background of the religious leader you are following. What is their lifestyle? With whom have they formed a close allegiance? What is their relationship with their spouse?
(3) Resist listening only to messages that confirm your prejudices. It may be difficult, but we need to hear from the “other side” to balance our opinions.
(4) Abide in a relationship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit.
— 1 John 2.27 – As for you, the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and so you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, abide in him.
The “anointing” in this verse refers to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. As we humbly read the Bible under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, he will teach us what God wants us to know.
Jesus’ Lament Over Jerusalem
Rudy Ross speaks about his passage from the perspective a Jewish believer. I hope you will get an opportunity to listen to our YouTube video on the Bob Spradling channel.
Rudy brings a dynamic to understanding this passage that is needed today.
Peter wrote that the Lord is “not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3.9).
Without a doubt, the Savior of the world grieves when people, cities, and nations reject a relationship with him. Jesus’ words over Jerusalem reflect his grief.
–– Luke 13.34-35 – “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!
“See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
Rudy points out in today’s video that there will come a time when Jewish people say, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” Praise God!
What is tragic is the number of people who are unwilling to surrender to the loving care of a relationship with Jesus.
Their pride and self-serving attitudes deprive them of the greatest gift of all, a friendship with the Greatest Being of All.
Pray with the Holy Spirit
Paul wrote, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words” (Romans 8.26).
As we consider God’s pain over how people reject a relationship with him, we can join the Holy Spirit in prayer.
Invite the Holy Spirit to pray through you for the sake of family, friends, and the world. Cooperate with the Holy Spirit in prayer for God’s purposes to be accomplished in the world.
I have referenced the YouTube video and Rudy Ross’ contribution to today’s message. I hope you will take the time to listen on the Bob Spradling YouTube Channel.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.