Precious Savior, there is no greater love than yours for me, no grace as extraordinary as yours toward me, no mercy more profoundly expressed than that which I receive from you. My response of thanksgiving seems paltry by comparison; there are no words of praise that seem adequate, but please accept them, as they come from the depth of my heart.
Read LUKE 9:51-62
51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them[a]?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 Then he and his disciples went to another village.
The Cost of Following Jesus
57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
59 He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”
62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
- Luke 9:54 Some manuscripts them, just as Elijah did
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘God be in my head, and in my understanding; … God be in my heart, and in my thinking.’1
‘As the time approached’ (v 51) marks a watershed in Luke’s gospel, beginning a darker period in Jesus’ life. We leave behind the Jesus of stilling the storm and feeding the five thousand. We leave the glorified Jesus of the Mount of Transfiguration, to commence a more somber journey with Jesus, focused on the path to his cross. There is now a larger group of women and men than just the 12 disciples.2 In today’s reading, Jesus and his companions cross a geographical and psychological border, leaving the familiarity of Galilee to enter a less comfortable, more alien environment.
Across the border, they encounter their first challenge. A village refuses to lodge them overnight – an important real-life lesson for the disciples at the beginning of a journey when Jesus will say much about rejection. We must not condemn the poor Samaritans. They too are under Roman rule and, suddenly, a large band of people turns up from rebellious Galilee, well known for breeding revolutionaries. They fear provoking the ruthless vengeance of the Romans. Yet James and John’s vengeance would have been even worse – the destruction of the village. They have much still to learn about what discipleship means.
Along the journey, some are drawn to Jesus. The one who pledges to follow Jesus anywhere did not know that the path led to the cross. It is possible that he did follow and later faced death in the persecution of the first Christians. Jesus’ words to the other two seem harsh, but we lack the details of the whole conversation. Both excuses amount to the same spiritual dilemma: ‘I’ll be free after my father dies’; ‘I need to sort out my family’s affairs first.’ These are hard lessons for us all. Discipleship is unconditional. It may lead to suffering, even to a cross.
Let the Lord of the hard road help us step out of our comfort zone, to cross the difficult borders and to tread where he did.
Lord Jesus, I confess that there are times when I am not single- hearted in my devotion to you, when my focus is more on myself than you. Forgive my wandering and help my thoughts and actions reflect the unwavering commitment you have to me.
Last Updated on November 10, 2023 by kingstar