At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.”
He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal. In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem! Luke 13:31-33
These Pharisees were no friends of Jesus. They wanted to run him out town under guise of sounding like they actually cared about his safety. “It’s too dangerous for you here. You should leave before Herod catches up to you.” Phonies! Jesus knew what they were up to and he wasn’t having it!
“Go tell that fox…!” You guys know exactly what foxes do. You’re doing it yourselves right now. You aren’t going to sneak into my head and scare me off from my mission.
“I will keep on driving out demons and healing people…” That’s what I do. I set people free from Satan, sin, and sickness. That’s my mission. Herod can’t keep me from it and your threats will not stop me from fulfilling my purpose here. You guys may have some pull and Herod has his power but you’re not gonna deter me from what God wants.
“Today, tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.” I’m gonna do what I do and you can’t coax me off track. I’m gonna heal hurting people all day today, tomorrow and the next day until I have no more days. And I know that I have just enough time here to accomplish my goals.
“In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!” No matter what goes on here, you can’t talk me into leaving. In fact, I’ll press on all the way to death. That’s what prophets do, they give their lives for their message, and they do it in the capital, not off in some backwater town where no one can see. We prophets die proudly and in public for all to see. I’m not hiding and I’m not quitting.
* * *
To get to my coffee shop this afternoon I had to wait for several hundred sign-carrying teenagers to march by chanting their displeasure––to put it mildly––about the outcome of Tuesday’s election of Donald Trump for President. It sort of reminded me of when, as sixteen year olds, some of us spent the night on the campus lawn in protest of the Viet Nam war. To be honest, my attendance had more to do with the pot we were going to smoke than the anti-war effort, but at least we cared about American draftees enough to relocate the party we were going to have anyway!
So, do these rabblerousing kids know everything there is to know about the political war that we’re in right now? Are they fully informed about the two-party system, checks and balances, and the Electoral College? Though some of them probably know more about those things than I do (especially the Electoral College!), most likely, most of them are not. And maybe they just wanted an excuse to cut class and scream about adult decisions. But I’m not so sure.
In fact, I had tears in my eyes as they passed by with their voices and signs raised. I felt chills as they marched by the pedestrians who lined the sidewalk, high-fiving them as they passed. They heard enough of the rhetoric and saw the scowling faces of both candidates on TV––evidently one in particular––and they did something, anything.
What was the point of it though? At the end of the day what good will their marching do? Maybe not a blessed thing in the minds of those who voted one way or the other. What’s done is done. Their ranting on a San Francisco street is not going to change the outcome of the election. So what good was it for them to march?
If it was inconsequential, what was that lump doing in my throat as they passed me by? I can tell you that it was about the passion I saw in those kids’ eyes and the anger I heard in their shouts. That’s what was good in their class-cutting, protest-chanting, and high-fiving.
They couldn’t vote in this election but probably in the next they’ll have the privilege and take it. Who knows, maybe they’re ideas will morph to the “other side” by then, but so be it. They cared––at least some of them actually cared––about our country and its direction. They may not understand as much as they will in election years to come, but they’re a lot further along than they were a year ago, and in my humble estimation, a lot further along than a lot of their elders who already have the right to vote.
So, what’s that have to do with the passage above? Though I can’t exactly draw a straight line between the two, I do see a parallel spirit between Jesus’ refusal to leave town for the sake of a “fox” and a bunch of teenagers who are developing a social conscience and the chutzpah do something about it. Although their voice may not be heard by “the fox” himself, they needed to raise it anyway and suffer the consequences of their actions.
I happen to think that in some ways their conscience is more fully developed than that many of their elders. And since they have more tomorrows than their elders, I hope they will “press on today and tomorrow and the next day,” and make America as good as she can be!