That fox

Here's an "Opening the Bible" blog entry I just posted at i.ucc:

This week’s Bible reading from Luke 13:31-35 is one that raises questions for me.

  • Why would the Pharisees come an warn Jesus? Didn’t they think he was a threat or an impostor?
  • Why would Jesus call Herod a fox? Had they ever met?
  • Would the Pharisees have access to Herod to deliver the message?
  • What’s with the days and the "third day" talk? Does it mean anything?
  • Why would it be impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem?
  • Why does the flavor of the passage switch so suddenly from "sparky" to "nurturing?"
  • Was Jesus predicting his Palm Sunday entry into Jerusalem in verse 35?
Here’s what I think:

  • The Pharisees weren’t really warning Jesus. They wanted to make Jesus afraid of Herod so he’d leave town.
  • Jesus wasn’t really addressing Herod – he was addressing those who were really threatening him – the Pharisees. They had no intention or (likely) ability to even have an audience with Herod. The Pharisees were the ones Jesus was calling crafty.
  • The "third day" talk isn’t symbolic or foreshadowing at all. The sentence really means something like "a few more days."
  • I have no ideas about the Jerusalem and killing of prophets thing.
  • Jesus was speaking in somewhat caustic language to the Pharisees, but he had love for all – Pharisees included. When he spoke of himself in terms of a hen and Jerusalem as the brood, he was showing that genuine love – and genuine sadness that he was being rejected.
  • Jesus was quoting Psalm 118 with the "Blessed is the one . . ." stuff. It turns out it is what the people said on Palm Sunday. I don’t know if it was a prediction or not, tho.

What do you think? Feel free to join the discussion at i.ucc and comment! (You can comment here, too, of course.)

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