My sermon this past Sunday was on Luke 13:31-35, and I preached on the theme of the faithfulness of Jesus. The Pharisees warned Jesus that Herod wanted to kill him. Herod Antipas, the ruler of the territories of Galilee and Perea, is the same Herod that beheaded John the Baptist at the request of his wife. So this was a threat to take seriously. But Jesus dismissed the warning: “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course'” (Luke 13:32). What Jesus meant by these words was: “I will conduct my ministry according to God’s timetable, until the very end, and no man will cause me to swerve in this least from the course appointed for me.” So much for Herod’s death threat.
The point is not the courage of Jesus, or his sticking it to “the man,” but that Jesus was utterly faithful to fulfill the ministry set out for him by his Father in heaven. No opposition, or fear, or weariness, or anything else would keep him from carrying out God’s will for him. As Philippians says, he was obedient “… to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8). Jesus was faithful all the way to Calvary, where he submitted himself to that cursed death of crucifixion. And so we are saved by the faithfulness of Jesus.
One of the points I made in the sermon is that if Jesus was wholly devoted to fulfilling God’s will for him during his time on earth, then how much more will he be faithful to bring to consummation God’s plan of salvation now that he is exalted in heaven? If Jesus was faithful in the face of hell’s furious opposition in his state of humiliation during his earthly ministry, how much more will he be faithful as the resurrected, victorious, and exalted Lord of Glory throughout his heavenly reign? He will most certainly fulfill all his promises, promises upon which our eternal blessedness depend: he will return, he will call us from our tombs and raise us up in glorified bodies, he will acquit us on the Day of Judgment, and he will bring us into his presence forever.
Praise God for the faithfulness of our Savior! That is our hope as Christians – not I, but Jesus, will be faithful to the end. And he proved that to us when he finished the course set for him by his Father, just as he told “that fox” Herod he would.
Soli Deo Gloria!