A Samaritan Village Refuses
51Not long before it was time for Jesus to be taken up to heaven, he made up his mind to go to Jerusalem. 52He sent some messengers on ahead to a Samaritan village to get things ready for him. 53But he was on his way to Jerusalem, so the people there refused to welcome him. 54 When the disciples James and John saw what was happening, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to destroy these people?”
55But Jesus turned and corrected them for what they had said. 56Then they all went on to another village.
Three People Who Wanted
57Along the way someone said to Jesus, “I'll follow you anywhere!”
58Jesus said, “Foxes have dens, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man doesn't have a place to call his own.”
59Jesus told someone else to come with him. But the man said, “Lord, let me wait until I bury my father.”
60Jesus answered, “Let the dead take care of the dead, while you go and tell about God's kingdom.”
61 Then someone said to Jesus, “I want to follow you, Lord, but first let me go back and take care of things at home.”
62Jesus answered, “Anyone who starts plowing and keeps looking back isn't worth a thing to God's kingdom!”
Weddings are incredible occasions. A while back, I officiated at my son’s wedding. What an enormous moment, leading two young people in love through their vows to love, honour, and cherish one another, no matter what comes their way. The promises a couple makes on their wedding day are almost shocking in their boldness.
It would be even more shocking, though, if a couple didn’t make those promises to each other on their wedding day. If they were to say, “I promise to love you as long as I feel like it,” or “I’ll do my best to be faithful to you until things get tough.” Total commitment is what we expect at a wedding.
Total commitment is what Jesus expects from us too. Like in a marriage, we can expect life with Jesus to be “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.” In this passage alone there are four stark reminders of the demands of discipleship. When we say yes to following Jesus, we risk rejection (vv 51-54). We may be giving up comforts like home and security (vv 57-58) We might even be asked to miss important moments – funerals (vv 59-60), time with family (vv 61-62).
Why would anyone embrace total self-sacrifice this way? Ask any engaged couple and they won’t hesitate: “We love each other.”“I can’t imagine life without him.” “She is worth the commitment.” True love and total commitment go hand in hand. Following Jesus may not be easy, but life without him would be unimaginable. Jesus is worth following, worth serving, worth risking everything for.
Lord of all, you deserve everything from me. So often I am half-hearted in how I serve and follow you. Fill me with such a love and passion for you that abandoning everything for your sake seems like the most natural thing in the world. Amen.