Luke 9=Jesus on a Mission
Bible Background: In Luke’s Gospel, this is a pivotal point. After his transfiguration, Jesus has his “face set” to go to Jerusalem (which will mean facing arrest and death). Nothing will deter him. So there is a sense of urgency, that he transmits to the disciples.
Digging Deeper: 1. There is foreshadowing with “when the days came for him to be taken up”. We should not be surprised that this is a tense scene! Samaritans and Jews often did not get along (but Jesus and the woman at the well have a great conversation in John 4!) Jesus and the disciples pretty much had to pass through Samaria to get to Jerusalem. It might remind us that a number of life’s journey’s take us through difficult times and territories.
2. James and John are known elsewhere as “sons of thunder!” They want God to smite that unwelcoming village. Jesus stops them. How important is it to hold judgement, condemnation, or ‘fire’ at times? They move on to another village. How do you think they were received there?
3. The next scene suggests that following Jesus is hard, and calls for total commitment. Jesus sounds rather heartless! Two offer to be his followers, and Jesus discourages them. Another, he seems to invite, and when that person hesitates, Jesus suggests the truly necessary thing is to “go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” What might that sound like?
4.There are many things in our lives that demand our attention. Some of them are more urgent. Some of them seem to be more urgent than they are. Looking back at your life, what are some things you wish you had given more time and attention to? What are some things that maybe did not deserve as much devotion as you gave them? How can this awareness guide you going forward?
5. There are a few times in the gospels when Jesus seems short-tempered and insensitive. It can be hard to picture the whole scene when we have such few words describing it. Each gospel writer brings their own ‘slant’ to a story; and all of these accounts are written years later. What do we draw from a hard passage like this? Certainly we can appreciate Jesus’ sense of purpose and commitment. He will do what he understands God’s will to be. Nothing will stand in his way. He won’t sugar-coat discipleship. What might that teach us about following God’s lead and choosing our path in faith and life?