Summary: Jesus had three encounters on the way to His crucifixion in Jerusalem, that have a lot to teach us. (Part 2 in "The Road To Glory" Easter series)
“And as they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, ‘The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.’ And He said to another, ‘Follow Me’. But he said, ‘Permit me first to go and bury my father.’ But He said to him, ‘Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.’ And another also said, ‘I will follow You, Lord, but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God’.”
Jesus, Peter, James and John have come down from the Mount of Transfiguration, where these very blessed disciples saw the Lord in his glorified state. The Father once again demonstrated His approval of the Son there, by sending Moses and Elijah to discuss with Him the departure He was about to accomplish in Jerusalem; and by letting His glory shine forth, for the moment piercing the veil of flesh; and by speaking from the cloud to confirm His pleasure with His Christ.
Coming down from the mountain, Jesus spoke very clearly to them of what was going to take place in Jerusalem. They still didn’t really understand.
Nevertheless, He has set out for Jerusalem, and although there are some events recorded briefly for us while they are enroute there, some of which we will look closely at today, He is on His way to the Holy City to carry out the purpose for which He came, and He will not be deterred.
I want to go first to the prophet Isaiah, so we can look at a passage that speaks of the resolve of the Messiah to do the will of the One who sent Him.
“The Lord God has opened My ear;”
Now I have to stop right here and explain something of great significance to you.
In saying ‘The Lord God has opened My ear’, this is a reference to the custom established in Exodus 21:6 and Deuteronomy 15:17. At the year of Jubilee, observed every seventh year, indentured servants were to be forgiven of any debt and allowed to go free.
However, these passages provide that if a servant loves his master and wants to continue serving him out of a bond of love, then the master was to take him to a doorpost, put the servant’s ear against it and pierce it with an awl. The servant would then wear a gold ring in that ear, and all who saw would know that he had dedicated himself to serve his master for life, out of love. He was called a bondservant.
The type is clear, of course, Christ also was pierced against wood, out of obedience and love for the One who sent Him…the One He served faithfully and to death.
So let me begin again from Isaiah 50 verse 5... and let me repeat that these words demonstrate the determined resolve of the Messiah to complete His mission:
“The Lord God has opened My ear; And I was not disobedient, nor did I turn back.
I gave My back to those who strike Me, and My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting, for the Lord God helps Me, therefore, I am not disgraced; therefore, I have set My face like flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.”
Then in Luke chapter 9 is the verse fulfilling that Messianic prophecy, where we are told,
(51) “And it came about, when the days were approaching for His ascension, that He resolutely set His face to go to Jerusalem”
Jesus Christ has taken His disciples to the far north of Galilee, to Caesarea Philippi, and extracted from them the declaration that He is the Christ, the Anointed One, sent from God.
From there He went with His closest friends to the mountain; many believe it was Mount Hermon, which is not far from Caesarea Philippi, where their declaration was confirmed by God’s declaration, and now there is nothing left but the doing of it.
So they’re on their way to Jerusalem at the time of the Passover.
Now a blending of Matthew and Luke during this time nearing the end of Christ’s earthly ministry, reveals a time of intense teaching. Jesus is about to leave His disciples, and there is much yet to say.
We are given the account of them passing through a Samaritan village, and Jesus sending some of them on ahead to prepare them for His arrival. You see at this point there is a very large number of people following Jesus along the road, and out of consideration for this small town He probably wanted to give them time to prepare for the sudden influx. But they reject Him, so James and John want to call down fire to consume the entire village.