Today’s passage begins Luke’s travel narrative and there is a great deal contained in these 12 verses including rich OT allusions and references that I won’t touch on today for the sake of space. Jesus sets his face on Jerusalem…he is now on the way to his exodus, the cross and resurrection. Throughout the travel narrative (through 19:27), we will see how Jesus views people and their religious assumptions…beginning with today.
Just like the start of his ministry in Galilee, Jesus meets opposition – opposition that is telling of the rejection that lies ahead. Rejection…of Jesus who was planning to bring his ministry to the Samaritans. The Sons of Thunder want to strike them down just like Elijah but pay attention to Jesus’ response. Jesus does not seek vengeance – he’s on his way to show that dying and forgiving is more important that killing and vengeance. The message is to look at the temptation to use violence to achieve right.
And this is our segue to teaching on discipleship. Did you read those responses of Jesus? For many, if this is the requirement for following Jesus, it seems he is turning away more than gaining. Jesus, did I hear you right? I may be physically or culturally homeless? Loyalty to you demands priority over family? Did I hear you right?
Faith can be expressed and experienced in a variety of ways but there comes a time when each one of us must be able to state our depth of commitment. Where Jesus is in our lives can’t just be one of convenience or worse, taken for granted. When choosing to set our face on Jesus, being a committed follower, we must know in our hearts that it is not a part-time or ‘just when we feel like it’ way of life. Most Christians would probably agree that following Jesus is primary to their basic faith and beliefs. The big question is, ‘What does this mean?’
Is it a matter of simply listening and learning or is there a deeper commitment involved? The Christian journey does not demand that we reject our responsibilities to family and vocation. It does create a tension within us though that challenges us to see these needs in the light of our faith and through a lens of our commitment to Christ. This tension is what Jesus is teaching on…that if things in our life mean too much to a person, then discipleship will be too demanding and costly.
I think the following quote from John Ortberg helps understand resolving the tension of deeper commitment…
Or, click on this (I really like “Coffee with Jesus” – very humbling)…