Priest, Prophet, King

– 30th Week in Ordinary Time –
 Thursday 29th October

At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’”  [Luke 13:31-33]

This is not the first ruler who had threatened the life of Jesus. Herod the Great (73BC – 4AD) had sought to kill Jesus as an infant (Matthew 2:16), perhaps as a precursor to the intention of his son, Herod Antipas (21BC – 39AD).

It is an interesting move on behalf of the Pharisees to keep Jesus informed of Herod’s intentions. Is it sympathy for his plight or a clumsy assertion of power? That the Pharisees know Herod’s purposes and have his ear further cements the precarious nature of Jesus’ position. It becomes only a matter of time.

Jesus’ response to the information that Herod wished to kill him elicits scorn. It is not that Jesus does not take it seriously. Already Jesus had sought to leave Herod’s sphere of influence (Luke 9:10) upon learning that Herod wished to see him. Such an interview had ended badly for John the Baptist, and Jesus had not been keen to replicate the experience just yet.

Which is an important point: ‘just yet’. The certainty of Jesus’ death does not elude him. However, he is not allowing ‘that fox’ to dictate when and how it is to take place. Less concerned for his safety than he is in fulfilling his mission, Jesus asserts his kingly authority and lays claim to his destiny. He will first finish what he has come to do and then ‘the next day I must be on my way’. Today’s text reminds us that Jesus is not only the king with an authority not of this world, but he is the priest who banishes evil and the prophet who must die in Jerusalem.

In the triple office of ‘priest, prophet and king’, which belongs to Jesus alone, we are to participate by virtue of our baptism. Baptism incorporates each of us into the Body of Christ. It is fulfilled in us to the degree that we become ‘another Christ’. How will you intercede, proclaim and lead today?

By Shane Dwyer

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