2nd Sunday in Lent
1. With resolution
2. With love
3. With your soldiers
Text: Luke 13:31-35
“Onward!” the brave general screams, charging forward to storm the enemy barracks. “Onward!” the soldiers shout, emboldened by their general who leads them, motivates them, and encourages them. Off they charge together—resolute in their mission, determined in their purpose, steadfast in their army. This determined and resolute general has accomplished so much before. With him on their side, the army cannot lose. “Onward!”
The march is carrying on. The battle is drawing near. Good Friday is now just 33 days away. So as we see Jesus advance in his mission we join in the shout, Onward, Jesus!
The more Jesus preached and taught and healed and helped, the more polarizing he became. Those who believed in him truly loved him. Those who didn’t believe in him truly hated him. We heard a few weeks ago how even in his hometown Jesus was hated so much they tried to throw him off a cliff. The list of those wanting to kill Jesus was growing.
Now the list included Herod Antipas (a different Herod than the one who killed all the babies when Jesus was born). The Pharisees hated Jesus, too. But for some reason, maybe good maybe bad, they came with this warning to Jesus: “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.”
This was a problem! Jesus had more to do! He had more teaching and preaching to do. He had more people to help. More importantly, he had Jerusalem and Calvary as his end goal. Jesus wasn’t supposed to be killed by Herod, perhaps beheaded like John the Baptist was by Herod. It was prophesied that Jesus would be pierced, that he would thirst, that he would be abandoned, that his clothes would be divided up, that he would die to pay for sins. Jesus needed to fulfill all prophecies in order to be our Savior. This wasn’t part of the plan! This was a problem!
Yet this didn’t cause Jesus to flinch or pause for one second. “He replied, ‘Go tell that fox, “I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.” In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem.’”
Herod might have been a crafty fox, but Jesus is God. Nothing was going to stop him from accomplishing his mission and his goal. “I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.” Jesus was going to keep going and keep doing what he was doing because he would not be stopped from his goal.
Jesus knew what his goal was, too. “In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem.” His goal was to return to Jerusalem. His goal was to find the same deadly fate as countless prophets of God in the past. His goal was to willingly go to the cross and die for all people. And twice here he mentions three days, which reminds us that his goal was also to rise from the dead on the third day.
Just like Jeremiah in the first lesson today, just like Paul encouraged the early Christians in the second lesson today, so Jesus was resolute in the face of opposition. This resolution, this determination, was for us!
Jesus was resolute to pay for what sinners have done. Jesus was resolute in dying to take our place to save us from death and hell. Jesus was resolute in sparing us from the eternal grips of Satan. Jesus was resolute to forgive our sins and erase our wrongs.
As we see our King and general this morning, we are encouraged by his boldness, his determination, his resolution. The Pharisees could not stop him. Herod could not stop him. Not even Satan could stop him. This morning we see Jesus marching toward Jerusalem and to his goal. So we shout, Onward, Jesus! Accomplish your goal! Save us! Go to Jerusalem with resolution. Onward, Jesus!
How had it come to this though? How could it be that God’s own chosen people hated the Messiah they had been anticipating for years? How could it be that so many wanted to kill Jesus? He never hurt anyone. He only helped people. He was only preaching God’s Word and the truth. Why did Herod want to kill him? Why did the Pharisees want to kill him? Why did the common people want to kill him?
Jesus says in verse 34, “O 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, but you were not willing! Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see my again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
By this time this was what the Israelites were known for. This was the status quo. They killed God’s prophets. They stoned those sent to preach God’s Word. Prophets like Jeremiah in the first lesson, who only preached the truth, were hated, imprisoned, and many were even killed. Now Jesus knew they wanted to do the same to him.
This saddened our Lord! He longed for his people to believe in him. He wanted to gather them together in his loving embrace like a mother hen would gather her little chicks under her wings. Jesus longed for his people to embrace him as the Savior so that they could live with him forever in heaven. Yet they didn’t believe him. They didn’t want him. They didn’t love him. They had rejected Jesus. God didn’t reject them. They rejected God. Thus Jesus said he would not show himself again to them until it was time for them to carry out their murderous plot. When they would see him next was when they were going to call out, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” on Palm Sunday just days before his death.
What incredible love from Jesus! Even though his own people hated him and wanted to kill him, Jesus still loved them and Jesus was still willing to go and die at their hands for their sins. Jesus still wanted to gather them in as a hen gathers her chicks.
Jesus has this same incredible love for us. How often we must sadden our Lord by the decisions that we make. How often God must see the things we do and long for us to walk his paths instead. How often God must long for us to love him above all else and to give our attention to things that truly matter. How often God must long for us to want Jesus for the right reasons and not simply worldly reasons like the Jews did. How often Jesus must long to keep us under his wings like a hen with her chicks as we desperately try to scurry away to chase after the bright, shiny things of this world.
Yet our Savior still loves us. He would not be deterred from his goal. He would not leave us in our sin. He would not let us die forever. In love, he went to Jerusalem to die for us and forgive us.
As we see our King and general this morning, we are encouraged by his boldness, his determination, his resolution, and his love. No amount of sin, no depth of sin is too much for our Lord. He loves us and forgives them all. This morning we see Jesus marching toward Jerusalem and to his goal. So we shout, Onward, Jesus! Accomplish your goal! Save us! Forgive our sins! Go to Jerusalem with love. Onward, Jesus!
Sadly, what the Israelites did with the prophets of old and what the Israelites did with Jesus has only continued to the present day. The rejection of those who preach God’s Word still goes on now and will always continue to go on. People hated Jeremiah and the prophets. People hated Jesus. People hate us. People will hate our children.
It is not easy to live your faith or share your faith. Many don’t want to hear what you believe because they only care about what they believe. The message of today is that we should all just get along, that we should “COEXIST” as the bumper sticker says. “You believe what you want, and I’ll believe what I want and then everything will be alright. Oh and by the way, don’t tell me I’m wrong. Don’t tell me I’m sinning. Don’t tell me about only one way to heaven. Because if you do, then I will make fun of you, trash you on the internet, probably hate you, and maybe even kill you.”
It is not easy in that environment to live your faith or to share your faith. So we hide our faith. We pass on opportunities and take the easy way out when we know we should say something. We try to look the other way from shameful sins, but we dare not say anything because that might be uncomfortable.
Even for those sins Jesus died too. He marched onward to Jerusalem with resolution and with love. He forgives us for our failures to share our faith and for our losses to Satan in spiritual warfare. And as he forgives us, he picks us up, dusts us off, and sends us back out to battle—with his help.
As we see our King and general this morning, we are encouraged by his boldness, his determination, his resolution, his love, and his promise to be with us in spiritual battle. When we share our faith he is there to strengthen us. When we are persecuted he is there encourage us. When we feel alone he is there to support us. This morning we see Jesus marching toward Jerusalem and to his goal, and we remember that he already accomplished his goal and won the battle. So we shout, Onward, Jesus! Strengthen us! Encourage us! Lead us! Onward, Jesus, with your soldiers!
The word “war” is never a good word. War is scary. War is bloody. War is deadly. When we are talking about war with Satan and evil, it’s even more scary and more deadly.
Today we are encouraged by Jesus though. We see him marching off to Jerusalem resolute in accomplishing his mission and filled with love for lost sinners. In 33 days we will watch the bloody, deadly effects of this spiritual battle as Jesus died on the cross for our sins. But in 35 days we will also celebrate his victory over sin and death and Satan as he rose triumphantly from the dead.
We need not be afraid of Satan. We need not be afraid of this spiritual war. We have Jesus on our side. We’ve already won! So,
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching off to war
With the cross of Jesus going on before.
Onward we march—with resolution, with love, and with Jesus!
Posted on February 24, 2013, in Church, Sermons and tagged Army, Battle, Church, Determination, General, Good Friday, Jesus, Lent, Love, Luke, Luke 13, Opposition, Resolute, Resolution, Satan, Sermons, Soldiers, War. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.