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 would not! 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!’”(Luke 13: 31-35)
Go and tell that fox. The fox was not a respected animal in Jewish thought. We think of the fox as a sly and cunning animal. They thought of the fox as a weak and wretched animal. Jesus hold’s Herod in contempt. He does not take orders from the rulers of this world. He could care less what Herod wants to do. He goes to Jerusalem. He knows what he will do there. And if Herod wants him he knows where he can find him.
Then Jesus tells Herod where he is going. He is going to Jerusalem, where it will be finished, where he will finish his course on the third day. Phrases like that have meaning. Jesus knows what is in store for him, but the cross and death will not be where he finishes his course, his course is finished on the third day in resurrection. But nevertheless he goes on his way. One might think he is trying to escape death, but no, he goes where he knows death is imminent for the prophets of God, Jerusalem.
What follows is an interesting conundrum for our reformed friends, as Jesus makes clear that the city of Jerusalem has resisted the will of God. God has desired their salvation, and yet they have refused it. Instead they have stoned the prophets. He knows that this is coming for him, and then God will abandon this house and forsake Jerusalem, we will take his hand from them. Salvation is in God’s hands, damnation in ours.