No Prophet Can Die Outside Jerusalem

Luke 13: 31-35

DIG: What does Yeshua reveal here in verses 32-33 about His intentions? Why was Herod Antipas a real threat? What does Christ’s response show about Him? Who controlled where and when Jesus would die? Why was Jerusalem’s fate already determined at this point? What strikes you about Yeshua’s prophecy? When did it find its fulfillment? Under what conditions will Messiah come back? When?

REFLECT: What concerns you about the spiritual condition of your nation? Your city? Your church? Your messianic synagogue? What would it mean for each to gather under His wings? How do you react to opposition when you are convinced that ADONAI has a purpose for your life? Have you ever had someone who you loved with all your heart reject you? What do you imagine His return will be like with you standing there?

At that same time that Jesus was talking about entering through the narrow door, some Pharisees came to Him and said, “Leave this place and go somewhere else” (Luke 13:31). Some interpreters believe that the Pharisees were trying to frighten Yeshua back into Judea so that the Great Sanhedrin (see Lg – The Great Sanhedrin) would have control over Him. Compare the attempt of Amaziah, the priest of the golden calf at Bethel, to frighten the prophet Amos out of Isra’el into Judea. He also failed (Amos 7:10-17). But such devious motivation need not have been present in this instance, for not all Pharisees wanted to kill Messiah; these may have thought enough of the Lord to warn Him. In fact, some were not far from the kingdom of God (Mark 12:34) and some came to faith in Him and remained Pharisees (Acts 15:5), among them Sha’ul of Tarsus (Acts 21:13).

“Herod wants to kill you” (Luke 13:31). Jesus was not that far away from Machaerus, the very place where he had the Baptizer beheaded.The son of Herod the Great (see Av – The Visit of the Magi), Herod Antipas was a first-century ruler of Galilee and Perea who bore the title of tetrarch or ruler of a quarter. His threat was real. Although Herod wanted to see Messiah perform a miracle (see Lp – When Herod Saw Jesus He Was Greatly Pleased), he regarded the Lord as a dangerous leader like Yochanan the Immerser whom he had killed (see Fl – John the Baptist Beheaded). Christ’s answer, like that of Rabbi Sha’ul’s to Agav (Acts 21:13), is that threats will not discourage Him from following God’s plan.1079

The Lord replied: Go tell that fox, “I go on My way (for a brief but definite period) today and tomorrow I AM driving out demons and healing people, and on the third day I will reach My goal” (Luke 13:32 CJB). Herod had been wily, deceptive, crafty and cruel in dealing with the Herald, disposing of John by beheading him secretly and defending his act on false grounds. Antipas wanted to dispose of Yeshua in the same way. But the renegade Rabbi was not going to be deterred, nor His plans changed because of the threats of Herod. In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day (a Semitic idiom for a short indefinite period followed by an imminent and certain event) for surely no prophet can die outside Yerushalayim (Luke 13:33)! God the Father had set the appointed time and place of His Son’s death. He was not saying that He would arrive in Tziyon in three days. The point was that Yeshua ha-Mashiach had a mission in mind and He would continue on His schedule He Himself had set. The goal was the Holy City of David where He would die. There, He must present Himself publicly to the Great Sanhedrin (see Lg – The Great Sanhedrin) and to Pontius Pilate, and then be put to death.1080

Jerusalem, Jerusalem. Jesus’ lament, like Jeremiah’s (see the book of Lamentations), bemoaned the fate of the Sacred City that refused to heed God’s Prophet from Nazareth (compare Psalm 137 for a similar lament). Yerushalayim’s rejection of the Son of God had already taken place (see Ek – It is only by Beelzebub, the Prince of Demons, that This Fellow Drives Out Demons). You who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you (First Samuel 30:6; First Kings 12:18, 21:13; Second Chronicles 24:21), how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, that is, tenderly and lovingly, even though the people were not willing (Luke 13:34). Consequently, since the nation, which had even killed the prophets that He had sent, and had rejected His words, they would now kill Him.

Look, your house (Zion and her people) is left to you desolate (Greek aphietai, meaning abandoned). This prophecy of doom was soon fulfilled by her complete destruction (see Mt – The Destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple on Tisha B’Av in 70 AD). Then Christ quoted from Psalm 118:26: I tell you, you will not see Me again until you say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” (Luke 13:35). The multitudes did quote this verse when He entered the Holy City in His Triumphal Entry, but their religious leaders disapproved. He would not come again until a believing remnant had been prepared who would beg Him to come back (see my commentary on Revelation Ev – The Basis For the Second Coming of Jesus Christ). In the far eschatological future this truth will be proclaimed when Jesus comes again and enters Tziyon as the millennial Ruler.


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