Scripture: 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 drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.'" - Luke 13.31-32
Observations: I find it interesting that the Pharisees are concerned for Jesus' well-being after all the confrontations they have had with him. And, I find it interesting that Jesus doesn't directly confront Herod as John the Baptist did, but neither does he cower from Herod's threats. This interchange between Jesus and the Pharisees regarding Herod reveals the oppressive conditions of the Roman Empire in the province of Israel. The chapter begins with news of an incident to the north in Galilee where Pilot killed Jewish worshippers and it ends in Jerusalem with Herod plotting to kill Jesus. So, as much as the Pharisees may have disliked Jesus' interpretations of the Torah, they feared the heavy hand of Herod more. They didn't want Jesus to stir up problems in Jerusalem because of the fallout to them and all Jews if Jesus stirs up trouble there.
Jesus' approach to the politics of his day was neither to revolt against the political oppressors, as the Zealots wanted to do, nor did he pacify them, as the Sadducees were prone to do. He didn't go out to the wilderness and create a monastic community, as did the Essenes, nor did he fully subscribe to the idea that God would come and rescue them in some apocalyptic event if only they would get right with God, as the Pharisees believed. Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is not like the kingdoms of this world. Rather it is like a mustard seed that spreads like a bad weed and like yeast that infects a batch of dough. Jesus ignored the politics of his day because, for Jesus, the kingdom of God had arrived and was demonstrated by his incarnation, his miracles, his teaching, and his imminent suffering and resurrection.
Apply: The kingdom of God has come to into this world in the person of Jesus. The kingdom of God comes to us when we surrender to the rule and reign of Jesus in our lives. The fullness of God's kingdom is yet to be realized, but now is the time to live as citizens of that kingdom. It doesn't matter who is in political power or under what form of government one lives, the kingdom of God moves forward not because of earthly politics, but in spite of them.
Pray: Jesus, may your kingdom come, may your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.