Summary: In the Journey to Jerusalem, we can see: 1)The Determination Executed (Luke 9:51-53), 2) The Discipleship Error (Luke 9:54-56), and finally: 3) The Diversion Excuse (Luke 9:57-62)

The Journey of the Sri Lankan’s aboard the MV Sun Sea, now that they are being processed in Canada, continues to be an eventful one. Whether it is because they are of a particular ethnic group, a possible terrorists threat or seen a free-loaders, they have faced much public rejection and hostility.

Luke 9:51-62 is the first of several references to the Samaritans in Luke-Acts, and it accesses common knowledge of the traditional animosity characterizing Jew-Samaritan relations. The Samaritans were a religious group focused on Mount Gerizim and inhabiting parts of the central hill country bordered by Galilee in the north and Judea in the south; like the Jews more generally, Samaritans also gathered in communities in the Diaspora. Though they are best known for their outright rejection of the Jerusalem-centered salvation history (since this set them apart most radically from other forms of Judaism), they also had competing views of Scripture, of messianic expectation, and, most importantly, of what constitutes authentic faith before God. According to Josephus, such differences were sometimes manifested in acts of violence (Josephus Ant. 18.2.2 §§29–30; 20.6.1–3 §§118–36. Cf. Jubilees 30.).

How are we to deal with those who are hostile to the message of the Kingdom of God, and how should this message impact our efforts and how do we guard against distractions? In Luke 9:51-62, which is unique to Luke, Jesus purposes to go to Jerusalem. He and his followers proceed south from Galilee to Jerusalem, they enter into Samaria (Stein, R. H. (2001). Vol. 24: Luke (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (297). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.).

In the Journey to Jerusalem, we can see: 1)The Determination Executed (Luke 9:51-53), 2) The Discipleship Error (Luke 9:54-56), and 3) The Diversion Excuse (Luke 9:57-62),

1)The Determination Executed (Luke 9:51-53),

Luke 9:51-53 [51]When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. [52]And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. [53]But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. (ESV)

Now that the days of Jesus’ assumption were reaching their fulfillment, the time for itinerating in Galilee (4:14–15) has passed. This narrative shift brings together the christologically significant event of Jesus’ ascension (to be taken up) and the profound importance of preparing the disciples for their Spirit-empowered mission following Jesus’ ascension. The necessity of the journey to Jerusalem is rooted in the divine purpose. These last days were to end, not merely with the Passion and the resurrection, but with the glorious ascension. The Ascension was that special event forty days after the resurrection, where Jesus is taken into heaven by a cloud from the Mount of Olives (cf. 24:51; Acts 1:2, 9, 11, 22; I Tim. 3:16) (Utley, R. J. D. (2004). Vol. Volume 3A: The Gospel According to Luke. Study Guide Commentary Series (Lk 9:51–62). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.).

The Passion was only an introduction to that. “He set his face firmly,” therefore, does not mean that he faced death with brave resolve, but that he looked forward to his return to the Father (Lenski, R. C. H. (1961). The Interpretation of St. Luke’s Gospel (553). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House.)

That Jesus “set his face” connotes the austerity of Jesus’ resolve, evokes analogous formulations of prophetic vocation (e.g., Isa 50:7; Jer 3:12; 21:10; Ezek 21:2; et al). It refers here to God’s purpose soon to be realized. He was determined to follow God’s plan and deliberately initiated the precipitating events, showing that he was in control of what was about to happen. (Stein, R. H. (2001). Vol. 24: Luke (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (297). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.).

In Luke 9:31, Luke summarizes the conversation between Jesus, Moses, and Elijah as having to do with the exodus Jesus was about to fulfill in Jerusalem. In light of the adjacent prediction of Jesus’ death at the hands of Jewish leaders associated with Jerusalem and the temple, Jesus’ “exodus” or departure clearly includes his path through suffering and death, even if it also includes his being raised from the dead by God. Hence, this resolve on Jesus’ part to go to Jerusalem comes because of the fate that awaits him there, since it is through his execution and vindication that he will fulfill God’s salvific purpose. This reference to Jerusalem, repeated in v 53, centers attention on the consummation of the divine will even while it recognizes the central role Jerusalem plays as the “culture center” of the Jewish world. By “culture center” we mean the sacred space that establishes the order of the world and provides the center point around which human life is oriented.

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