Thy Kingdom Come
Text: Luke 13:31-35 Speaker: Pastor Matthew Ude Festival: Lent Passages: Luke 13:31-35
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Lament over Jerusalem (Listen)
31 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32 And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. 33 Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.’ 34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 35 Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’”
What does this text teach us about what it means to pray “Thy kingdom comes?”
Jesus’ kingdom came when Jesus completed the work the Father sent him to do. When he died and rose again, Jesus’ kingdom came through the cross. Jesus went to Jerusalem to bring His kingdom to us. Jesus’ kingdom comes to us through the cross as well. Therefore, when we pray “Thy kingdom come” we are praying that Jesus would oppose any who come between us and His cross, including often ourselves. We pray that He would gather us like a hen gathers her chicks unto Himself.
Jesus teaches us to turn the other check, if someone steals your garment give him your cloak as well. Well Peter asks how often should I forgive my bother, Jesus says seventy times seven.
James reminds us “be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20
Jesus teaches us to pray “forgive us as we forgive those who trespasses against us.”
In short the Bible urges patience, love and forgiveness, except
Except our Psalm today tells us “be angry” without sin. Except in our reading from Philippians Paul is not happy about these men. Except in our sermon text, Jesus does not deal with these men in a loving and forgiving attitude. He opposes them and warns them.
In the reading from Philippians Paul opposes those men because they “they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:”
In Mark 8:33 Jesus rebukes even Peter saying “Get behind me Satan.” Why because Peter was trying to block Jesus path to the cross.
Now here we have the same thing. This time it isn’t Peter, but these Pharisees. They stand between Jesus and the cross. They try to block Jesus. They try to divert Jesus. They try to stop Jesus from going to Jerusalem to die for our sins and Jesus will not allow it. He is going to Jerusalem. He is going to die. And neither the Pharisees, nor Peter, nor the people of Paul’s day are going to stop the forgiveness that comes to us from the cross of Christ.
Every day we pray “Thy Kingdom come.” Jesus’ kingdom comes through the cross. Peter, the men in our text, and the men Paul is talking about Philippians oppose the cross and therefore oppose the coming of Christ’s kingdom
In verses 32 and 33 Jesus mentions this three days to complete His work and then again this three day journey which will end in Jerusalem.
Jesus’ words here cannot be taken literally. There is too much that happens between this incident here in Luke 13 and the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to be all in three literal days.
For example you have both the raising of Lazarus and the supper with Zacchaeus yet to come. If Jesus words here are three literal days, than both of those events would have to have happened on the same day. That does not seem likely.
Rather Jesus emphasizes the necessity that He will finish his work of ministry, He will continue his journey to Jerusalem and he will die and rise again in three days.
The three days is mentioned not once but twice to drive home this truth that in three days Jesus will complete the work He came to do. Not three days from the point of out text, but when He starts the work He will complete it in three days. He will die and in three days raise again. As he told them previously “destroy this temple and in three days I will rebuild it.”
When we pray “Thy kingdom come” we are thanking Jesus that He was resolute in that journey but we are also praying that Jesus will bring us to His kingdom, which means bringing us to His cross.
That drawing us closer to Him often involves a lot of law, a lot of reminding us how sinful we are. Consequently, we are often like Paul kicking against Him even as He tries to draw us.
When we pray “Thy kingdom come” we are praying that the cross would come to our lives as well. That anything that keeps us from the cross of Jesus would be removed.
What is the motivation of the Pharisees? There has long been a debate in the Christian church as to why these men warn Jesus. Some think they mean well. They are honestly trying to help Jesus. Others think they want to get rid of Jesus and they are using Herod to scare Jesus away from Jerusalem. The later is more likely.
Jesus tells them to go back to Herod. This seems to implies that Jesus considers them to be on Herod’s side.
When Jesus says “Jerusalem, Jerusalem . . . “ It seems like He addresses these Pharisees as though they are part of the Jerusalem that kills the prophets.
Ultimately however the motivation of these Pharisees is not important. What matters is that they oppose the cross. They stand between Jesus and the cross. They are therefore enemies of God. Jesus opposes and removes them regardless of their motivation.
When we pray thy kingdom come we are praying that Jesus would remove all obstacles between us and his cross. Regardless of how innocent they may seem on the surface.
Those things in our lives which block our view of the cross must be removed. We pray that His kingdom would come. That is we are praying that the view from our window would be an ever clearer picture of the cross. Yet to do that Jesus must often remove things from our lives that we would rather keep on our front lawn.
Because Jerusalem is unwilling to accept Jesus forgiveness their “house is left desolate.”
The Greek word for left, sometime also translated forgotten, is aphiemi. This word is more commonly translated “forgiven.” You sins are left behind, they are forgotten, they are remembered no more.
In the cross of Christ Jesus offers complete and total forgiveness so that our sins are gone.
Yet those who will like the city of Jerusalem will not allow Jesus to gather them into his forgiveness, then they are the ones who are forgotten, who are left.
If we pull long enough against God’s desire to draw us in eventually we will find that God has stopped drawing us to him. It happened with Pharoah. It happened with the people of Israel in the wilderness. It happened with Saul. It happened with the people before the flood.
God says then, “My soul shall not strive with man forever.”
It happens here with Jerusalem. The Lord strove with Jerusalem longer than any other people in the history of the world but finally they are left desolate as well.
We oppose the cross of Christ when we strive against His gift of forgiveness in our own life.
When we pray thy kingdom come we are praying that Jesus would gather us like a hen gathers it chicks. We are praying that Jesus would gather us in around himself, which He does in His word and in His sacraments, and that He would destroy that desires within us which is constantly seeking to pull away from Him.
Jesus’ kingdom comes through the cross. We pray that Jesus would oppose all those who block His cross. We pray that Jesus would complete His work within us. We pray that Jesus would gather us to Himself.