51When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; 53but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” 55But he turned and rebuked them. 56Then they went on to another village.
57As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”61Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Have you ever been with someone who had something on their mind? Someone they were worrying about? I have, they check thier phone all the time, they don’t really pay attention to the conversation, it’s like they are planets away.. I know that sometimes it’s me, I can’t hear what is going on, I’m distracted and I’m sure not very good company! I imagine that this was a bit like what Jesus was like.. He came into a place of the Samaritans, normally he got on ok with them. They worshiped the same God they just believed that you didn’t have to go to Jerusalem to worship. That usually didn’t go down well with the Jews, the temple was the house of God, so there would often be issues. I think with Jesus focused on Jerusalem they took it the wrong way, the disciples responded. “If they don’t like us we don’t like you!” and were threatening to show them how great their God is! Jesus in the midst of him being distracted saw what was going on and called the disciples off and moved everyone on..
The time had come and Jesus had decided it was time to face the big guns.. It was a big decision, I imagine he wasn’t 100 % sure how it would go down but knew they wouldn’t be real happy about what he had to say.. This is a lonely place to be, that moment when you know you have to do something hard, no body around you can really understand..
The people around him loved what he did because it was amazing and he made them feel valued and important, and they wanted to be part of it. But they wanted it all. They wanted to finish what they were doing, say goodbye to those who were important, make sure their business was ok.. Jesus challenges them, to be part of the kingdom of God requires your full attention now.. It requires you to be single-minded in what you are to do, don’t let the everyday get in the way of that. Jesus shows us here what that looks like. The call to love God and love everyone remains in how he responds to the Samaritans, despite how focused on changing the world he was. The challenge he was going to go against in Jerusalem was against those who had started to put the law and religion before the call of God.
So the challenge for me today is what do we put before doing what God asks of us? Here we see family, grief, work, religion, rules, what about illness or politics or economics? To stand up against these things can feel lonely at times because people won’t always understand why.. They will try to judge our actions according to what they value. At the end of the day, Love trumps the lot.