WRAPPING THINGS UP
"Just then some Pharisees came up and said, 'Run for your life! Herod's on the hunt. He's out to kill you!' Jesus said, 'Tell that fox that I've no time for him right now. Today and tomorrow I'm busy clearing out the demons and healing the sick; the third day I'm wrapping things up. Besides, it's not proper for a prophet to come to a bad end outside of Jerusalem.'" Luke 13:31-35 (The Message).
How typically Jesus! Still headed for Jerusalem, He was unperturbed by these Pharisees' scare tactics. 'That fox!' was His response. 'I'm not afraid of him. My mission and my destination are fixed and Herod can't do anything about it,' In any case, Herod did not feature in Jesus' life as he did in John the Baptist's. John owed his demise to his attack on Herod's morals. Jesus had declared war on the warped religious system of the Pharisees that robbed God of any real heart. If anyone was out to get Him, it was the Pharisees, not Herod. Jesus did not buy their story.
What was His mission, then? He put it in a nutshell in His reply. "To clear out the demons, heal the sick and wrap things up on the third day." Clearing out the demons and healing the sick was His mission to His suffering people - to demonstrate and announce the kingdom of God; and wrapping things up on the third day was the purpose of His coming - to reveal the heart of the Father and to reconcile His alienated family to Himself by giving His life for them.
Jesus knew that His end would come in Jerusalem, the seat of religious power and the symbol of God's presence among His people, the temple. Jerusalem represented the core of the power struggle between two kingdoms, the dominion of darkness and the kingdom of God. The cry of victory from the usurpers of God's authority would be short-lived because of 'the third day'. The religious hierarchy thought that they had silenced Him for good when He hung lifeless on a Roman stake. They did not take seriously either His promise or His power.
The 'third day' proved them oh, so wrong! It is 'the third day' that vindicates everything Jesus said and did. Other religions may challenge His authority and His supreme Lordship but, for all their theories and their following, all they prove is that they have been horribly deceived. No self-proclaimed prophet, philosopher or seducer of people can silence the voice of the resurrection or disprove its truth. The greatest legal minds have tried and failed. There is too much evidence to prove that Jesus 'wrapped things up' when He rose from the dead on the third day and is seated at the right had of the Father in power and glory.
Since He rose from the tomb and is alive today, every believer can be sure that everything else He said is equally true. That means that, for example, He is the only way to the Father. He is the Light of the world; only in Him can we have peace in a troubled world and hope in every hopeless situation. He is the only true revelation of the Father because to see Him is to 'see' the Father. He is the source of truth and life.
Jesus calls us to follow Him and those who follow will never walk in darkness. He has given us His Spirit, resident and at work in us, to transform our hearts from greedy and self-centred people to sons of God who resemble the Father in loving generosity and unselfish service to all around us.
Millions of people in every nation who have believed and followed this risen Jesus, are living proof of His resurrection, and so are the millions who have laid down their lives and who are still being martyred today, on the strength that Jesus lives and that His word is true. They have been murdered through the same religious fanaticism that murdered Jesus but, because Jesus lives, so do they. And so can you!
But it's your choice...
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