Summary: On the way to the cross, Jesus has people planning to kill him, and people who will betray him and that he prophesies to kill him..... and he lets them.
Concordia Lutheran Church
February 28, 20190
† IN JESUS NAME †
May you realize that God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ has gathered us, even as a hen gathers her chicks…. For that indeed is the result of His gifts of mercy and peace..
It was too early in the morning, that Monday morning sixteen years ago last month. Four thirty-one in the morning, and more than just the earth and the building anchored into it. Lives were dramatically changed, and affected for months and years to come…
January 17, 1994, 4:31 am – and the name of the city Northridge would forever be linked to a tremendous earthquake. As Kay and I were standing on Topanga Boulevard with nearly 1000 other residents of our apartment complex, we wondered how so many others were doing. No information was readily apparent, but we wondered how her folks and mine, and other people we loved and cared for were doing. As the sun began to rise, people were looking after each other, and beginning to make contact with each other.
Parents were herding their kids in their arms, not willing to even get a arm length away. As more tremors and aftershocks hit, the fathers and mothers grasped their children tighter, and even if you couldn’t hear the words, you know they were words of comfort and peace and assurance.
As we approach Lent, we become more aware of how shaken our world has become. How damaged, how fallen, how instable. It may not be that way because of plate tectonics, but of something far more damaging…sin…a world of it..
Since Adam and Eve tried to hide in the garden, as their world was shaken, God has been trying to gather His people, to cleanse them, to bring them comfort, and peace.
Problems – Some refuse to be Gathered (Law)
1. The direct approach – Herod and the Herodians
2. Jesus confronting the Pharisees
a. Instead of it being the evil herodians, its now his “friends” he challenges
b. The confrontation leads to more… pushing away..Christ’s ministry
3. Do we allow Jesus to gather us?
a. Do we realize His peace and rest that is ours? Or do we dismiss it.
b. We talk about God being our Lord, our Comforter, will we stop fighting?
In our gospel reading this morning, we see the people Jesus is trying to gather. There are two groups, the first those who directly reject him, and the second, who you think will be aligned with him, and with his work Think of them as the two brothers, tuhe prodigal, and the older brother who stays home.
Herod, and those around him, known interesting enough as the Herodians, directly and openly oppose Christ. (cool to have your followers named after you… hmm.. the dustinians doesn’t work…but the pastorians ain’t bad) We know from History these people were those who challenged the religious system and basically opposed the historic faith and practices of Israel. They worked with the Roman government closely, which kept them in power. They opposed the Pharisees, and were responsible for the deaths of many religious leaders – including John the Baptist, and according to this passage, they wanted to kill Jesus as well. It is ironic that Herod’s family had followers of Jesus who would come forth after Jesus’ death. God can still call those violently opposed to Him into a relationship with Him, and that is good news for many. He can and will gather them, as a parent gathers up their children and protects and comforts them.
Even as Herod would plot, Jesus would point out, that its not the enemies of God that kill prophets, its those who would count themselves as God’s people that. In those days, the Pharisees were what we would call Bible believing evangelicals. People mostly like us, and it we see them in today’s gospel, warning Jesus, trying to get him to go to the safety away from Galilee and Herod’s power base.
They hadn’t decided against Jesus at this point, though they had questioned Him often. Remember, Joseph of Arimethia, who gave Jesus his expensive grave, and Nicodemus were both prominent Pharisees.
Yet Jesus would point out that they would be the ones who will kill Him, that it would be the religious “believers” who would betray and attempt to get rid of God from their lives. Like Peter, who proclaimed he would never betray Jesus, like these Pharisees would be unable to consider trying to get rid of the God.
In that, they are just like…us.
We may claim that we have faith, that we trust in God, that we are good people. Yet, how often do we fail to acknowledge God’s presence in our life. How often do we yield to sin, not even bothering to strive against temptation? How often do we choose to leave God’s peace, or ignore His presence?