Some Pharisees appear to help Jesus by letting him know that Herod is seeking to kill him–just a ruse in an attempt to get him to leave the area. Jesus’ response: “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people…'” lets them know he knows exactly what they are thinking and it is unlikely that they are part of Herod’s inner circle!
Jesus goes on to lament for Jerusalem, “…how often I have longed to gather your children together…Look, your house is left to you desolate.” (see also Matthew 23:37-39.) We have some understanding of these words because we have the advantage of hindsight, the perspective that history allows us to have. At the time, Luke would not have known about the complete destruction of the temple that would come in the near future, but here we hear the words of Jesus, sad about what is to come.
Bible Gateway Links:Luke 13:31-35
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One Reply to “Jesus’ Sorrow for Jerusalem”
I imagine the Pharisees in that particular region (probably Perea) were anxious to find a reason to encourage Jesus to leave. Herod is a good choice from their perspective since is was common knowledge that he had John the Baptist beheaded on a whim. So there is some credibility to the claim that Herod wants Jesus dead, but I don’t think they were envoys, just looking after the own best interests.
Jesus’ response is one I honestly don’t remember (which I find odd): “Go tell that fox…” Somehow I missed that sharp response in the past. I just looked at several translations and apparently it’s there in most (if not all) and the Greek word, alopex, which means fox. In this context it’s certainly appropriate, just surprising to hear Jesus refer to Herod as a fox. Anyway, the news that someone is after Jesus does little to discourage his ministry, he will continue to do what he came on earth to accomplish.
Verses 34-35 provide insight into the sadness that Jesus has for Jerusalem. Reading through the Old Testament, studying its history and all the events that centered on Jerusalem helps my appreciation for his fondness of Jerusalem, but I don’t think I can fully understand from my cultural heritage. This was God’s city for His people. Jesus knows it will be a long time before the New Jerusalem appears. Here he lets us see some raw emotions. Crazy to think how Jesus was fully God and fully human at the same time. Incredible words from our awesome savior.