SETTING OUT FOR JERUSALEM
Thank You, Lord, for being slow to anger and abounding in love. I praise and worship You.
Read LUKE 9:51–56
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Jesus Christ, “the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15), sets out for humiliation and death. As he goes he nurtures and teaches his perplexed disciples. Teach me humility, Lord.
Jesus set out with his disciples for Jerusalem. Verse 51 is the decisive point when the journey began, and similar verses mark their progress (Luke 13:22; 17:11; 18:31; 19:28) until his arrival in Jerusalem, riding on a donkey (Luke 19:28–45). First, however, they needed to travel through Samaria, which lay between Galilee and Jerusalem.
In John’s Gospel we are told of an earlier journey when Jesus, returning to Galilee through Samaria, met a Samaritan woman at a well (John 4). The result of that meeting was that many Samaritans in her home town became believers. However, Jews and Samaritans were traditionally hostile, one of their differences being the right place to worship (the Temple in Jerusalem or Mount Gerizim), so pilgrims heading for Jerusalem were not very welcome. On this occasion perhaps it was the large crowds that followed Jesus that added to the Samaritan villagers’ unwillingness to extend hospitality (12:1; 14:25). John and James wanted to avenge this affront (echoing Elijah on Mount Carmel; 1 Kings 18:36–38), but Jesus was teaching them to accept hostility without retaliation or revenge; judgment would come, but not yet.
During Bible times, journeys were not undertaken lightly. Jesus and his disciples traveled on foot from Galilee to Jerusalem several times and used rowing boats to cross the lake. Jesus rode into Jerusalem to fulfill an Old Testament prophecy while all of the others walked. Luke went on to write the story of the early church in the book of Acts, which, of course, features many journeys—difficult journeys—mostly on foot or by sea across the eastern Mediterranean. Journeys were arduous and sometimes dangerous. Yet, unlike our crowded, hurried and noisy ways of traveling, those ancient journeys gave time for growth in relationships that must have been very precious.
Recall a time when you felt that the Lord sent a messenger ahead of you to set things up. How do you feel about that?
Lord, You are in charge, and I acknowledge that You work behind the scenes to accomplish Your purposes. I thank You for that.