Summary: The cost of discipleship.
Planning the Trip
July 1, 2001
At one time or another we have all been on a trip. Going on trips is an exciting part of life. As a matter of fact, two of my daughters are on trips this weekend. Ann and I are planning a trip right now. In three weeks we will go to Virginia to visit my daughter Stephanie, who is in the Navy, and my aunt and uncle who live in Portsmouth, Va.
You know one of the most exciting things about going on a trip is planning the trip. When you’ll leave, the route you’ll take to get there, who you’ll visit, the places you will go to eat, and all the other fun things you’ll do during your trip.
I heard about a man who went on a trip to Israel. He was about to enter the famous and impressive Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv to take in a concert by the famed Israel Philharmonic.
The man was admiring the unique architecture, the sweeping lines of the entrance, and the modern decor throughout the building. Finally, he turned to the Israeli tour guide and asked if the building was named for Thomas Mann, the world-famous author.
“No” the tour guide responded, “it’s named for Fredric Mann, from Philadelphia.”
“Really? I never heard of him. What did he write?" asked the tourist.
“A check,” said the tour guide.
Well this morning Luke tells us about another group of individuals who were about to go on a trip to Israel, and it wasn’t to see the famous Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv. Jesus and the disciples had been traveling around the area of Galilee carrying out their ministry. Jesus had recently cured a sick woman of hemorrhaging, healed a demon-possessed man, calmed a storm, fed 5000 and taught many parables about the kingdom on God. It was now time to move on.
Luke tells us in the beginning of this passage that Jesus sensed it was time to begin his journey towards Jerusalem. In many ways it was the beginning of the end. For it would be in Jerusalem where Jesus would be rejected and ultimately sentenced to death on a cross.
The next ten chapters of Luke are all about Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem. Once he set his face towards that holy city, there was no turning back, and Jesus knew that. Everything that Luke tells us in these next ten chapters must be looked at through the lens of a great count down. The clock is now ticking, and every moment counts.
There wasn’t a lot of time left and Jesus needed to make the best of what little time he had. There were lessons that needed to be taught along the way, people who needed to be healed on the roadsides, demons that needed to be cast out in the villages they would pass through, and so many people who still needed to hear his message of salvation.
And what is the first thing they run into on beginning leg of their trip ? Rejection! Jesus sends two of his disciples on ahead of them to make preparations to spend a night in a Samaritan village. We can envision James and John knocking on the door of a home in the village. They ask for a night’s lodging perhaps something to eat. They tell the homeowner they are on their way to Jerusalem. And at that, they get the door slammed in their face.
You see, there was an age old battle between the Jews and the Samaritans, and the Samaritans did everything they could to hinder the Jews passing through their territory. That presented a problem for the Jews, because in order to get to Jerusalem, you had to go through Samaria. You could go around Samaria by going out into the wilderness of Gilead an on to Ammon, cross over the Red Sea and then trek on into Jerusalem. But that was really the long way around. It would be kind of like us going to Albany and then to Philadelphia and on up to New York City just to avoid going through Connecticut. Although with all of the radar traps on Route 95 in Connecticut, going to Albany and then to Philadelphia to get to New York City doesn’t sound like such a bad route to take.
James and John go back to Jesus and tell him that they have just gotten thrown out of town. How dare those Samaritans ! James suggests they send a little fire and brimstone their way to consume the city as punishment for not welcoming them. But Jesus would have none of that. He avoids the temptation to use violence. Instead, he teaches the disciples that an insult does not entitle one to do harm to another. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Besides, they better get use to rejection because that’s just what’s going to happen once they arrive in Jerusalem.