Jesus had spent almost three years moving where he wanted to. He started in Galilee, several walking days away from Jerusalem, from the place of power. He traveled to Jerusalem once a year during those three years to worship at the Passover. But he also traveled away from Jerusalem. For a few months, he took what looked like a wandering path out in the small towns and wilderness away from crowds. All the time he was teaching. Teaching his disciples, teaching others. All the time he was living, praying, eating, sleeping in whatever accommodations there were.
During this time of his life, he had no home, no regular place where he lived. He would go back to Capernaum, but there’s no sense of his own house.
And then the time comes. He sets his face like flint toward Jerusalem. Though it won’t be a fast journey, though he will continue to teach and to heal, his path started to straighten out.
And in the middle of that time, when Jesus is moving toward Jerusalem even though others may not have realized it yet, some Pharisees came and warned him: “Herod wants to kill you.”
However, these particular Pharisees seem to express actual concern for Jesus. “Protect yourself.”
It’s the way most of us would act if we saw someone being threatened. “Go, get away, run!”
But here’s what Jesus says:
“Please pass on a message to Herod. Tell him that I think he’s a fox, deceiving and disruptive, eating the powerless, looking all wise.
Tell him that my agenda isn’t under his control. My to-do list doesn’t mention Herod for several more days.
I’m on my way to Jerusalem because I know that I’m going to die there. It’s what happens to people like me. But I also know that I’m not going to die until it’s time. I know that the attack won’t happen until I, God, give permission for the attack to happen.
In the meantime, my heart is all about the people of Jerusalem, the ordinary people living their lives at the mercy of the soldiers and the politicians and the religious leaders. The people caught up in the chaos.
I would hug them all. I would gather them up like a hen puts her wings around her chicks when they are in danger, when the fox is close. I would put my life on the line for them.”
That’s what he says.
And what he knew then, what we know now, is that he was walking right into Jerusalem under his own power, on his own plan, to actually give his life up for them. And for us.
Because he knew that our hope knows there is more to life than what we see.