Politics gets violent. Mary and I remember the sixties when President Kennedy was shot down in Dallas, Martin Luther King in Memphis, and Robert Kennedy in Los Angeles, giving the designation the “Era of Assassination.” This murderous violence has escalated again with repeated shootings and now some of thethe worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
As we pray for the families in their grief and as our nation debates the causes of these mass slayings, we need to remember that in the most important Story of all, You told the truth about murder at the center of Your plot. Herod Antipas, a powerful first century political leader, was trying to murder Jesus. He cut off John the Baptist’s head, and he wanted to do the same to Jesus. Some of the Pharisees, a group that was often against Jesus, in today’s passage tried to warn Him.
“In that hour some Pharisees came to Him and said, ‘Get up and get out of here, for Herod wants to murder you!’ And Jesus said, ‘Go, tell that fox, Look, I cast out demons and perform healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will be finished. Only know this, it is necessary for me to go on my way today and tomorrow and the following day, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.’” Luke 13:31-33
In God’s Story Herod will join Pilate and the religious leaders at the climax of the Story and they will murder Jesus, placing Him on a cross. Their actions cannot be psychologically explained as mental or neurological imbalances. Herod’s jealousy and passion to take out rivals is sin. Pilate caving into the mob’s wishes in self-preservation is also sin. And so is the jealousy of the Jewish leaders and their national and religious pride that causes them to turn over a man they know to be innocent to be executed. Evil is real and it expresses itself in sin.
The good news is that Jesus is fully aware of all this. This is proved by His response to those who were trying to protect Him. He had to go to Jerusalem. Why? Because that is where the sacrifice of His life would be made—a sacrifice that would make it possible for even murderers to be forgiven if they would only turn away from their anger, jealousy, and violence and accept Jesus’ sacrifice for them.
LORD, thank you that Your Word does tell a Story that exposes the truth about a murdering fox like Herod Antipas. Thank you that unlike any other ruler, Your Son is actually in control of the events that are happening and that He is the One who provided forgiveness and the confidence that if we know Him, we shall live even if we die.
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