The Parables of Jesus
(Today’s devotion is from the Gospel for the 2nd Sunday in Lent)
March 13, 2022
“Not today, not tomorrow, or the day after that”
As I read today’s Gospel lesson from Luke, it brought back memories of something one of my students (youth) said to me many years ago.
In June of 1996, eleven of my high school students, myself, and two other adults left South Florida for a Mission Trip in Saskatchewan, Canada. Our trip was a bit unconventional, as we traveled in a 32-foot motor home.
It took us 4 ½ days of driving each way, and we stayed at a church in La Ronge, Saskatchewan. We didn’t sleep in the motor home. It was used strictly for travel. Instead, we stopped in eight different churches during the trip and stayed in the homes of congregation members.
I could probably write a book of memoirs and devotions about the trip, but this is one moment in particular I remember. As we were leaving La Ronge, one of my students, by the name of Betsy, came up to the front of the motor home. She kneeled down next to the driver’s seat and said to me, “Joe, I was just thinking about something.” I replied, “What’s that, Betsy?” She said, “Even though we’ll be driving all day, we won’t get home today, or tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that.” That statement by Betsy made me realize how long of a drive we had to get home. Not today, and not tomorrow either, but we did get home eventually.
I chose that true story to lead into today’s lesson because Jesus uses much of the exact words as Betsy’s.
“At that time, some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.”
He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day, I will reach my goal.’ In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ 13:35 Psalm 118:26” Luke 13:31-35
Interestingly, some Pharisees came to warn Jesus. There are two ways to look at their words to Him. First, they may have just wanted Jesus to get out of the area because He was disrupting the power and authority of Herod as well as the Pharisees themselves. Second, perhaps they were discreet followers of Jesus and simply wanted to warn Him. I like to believe the latter is true.
There was no love lost between Jesus and Herod. This is the man who ordered Jesus’ cousin John the Baptist beheaded.
Jesus describes Herod as a fox. The term was used for a crafty, sly, or insignificant person. It seems that Jesus looks at Herod as minor in the big picture of things. It was not Jesus’ time to die.
Jesus says that “I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day, I will reach my goal.”
In other words, Jesus has a job to do, and even Herod can’t stop him from completing it. `
The words today and tomorrow are a general way of saying, “I’m going to continue what I’m supposed to be doing for a while.” But, when Jesus says on the third day He will reach His goal, He’s talking about His resurrection, three days after His death. Then and only then God’s plan would be complete.
Finally, once again, Jesus speaks to everyone around Him. He has done all He could to try and bring the Jews (people of Jerusalem) to Himself. But, overall, they rejected His Gospel message.
So, Jesus finishes by saying something I’ve written about before. Because they rejected Him, the temple would be spiritually empty. His words could also be a foretelling of the coming destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman.
We must continue to do Christ’s work of spreading the Gospel message for as long as we are here. Whether it’s only for today, tomorrow, or maybe even many days after that.
Dear Jesus. It’s unfortunate that you had and have so many enemies. Today, there are still many who do not follow and believe what you did for the world. Help us to continue to bring the Gospel message to the world. “If they have ears, then let them hear.” Amen.