Summary: Real discipleship is demanding! It takes a lot for a spur-of-the-moment impulse to become a lifetime commitment to following Christ.
Title: The “Buts”
Text: Luke 9:51-62
Thesis: Real discipleship is demanding… it takes a lot for a spur-of-the-moment impulse to become a lifetime commitment to following Christ.
Eric Weiner tells of being rushed to the hospital emergency room in excruciating pain. They took some X-rays and CT scans. When the grim-faced ER doctor came into the examining room he knew something bad was going on. The ER doc told him that a surgeon was on his way… they had located him at a dinner party but he would be arriving soon.
A nurse entered to room. She too was grim-faced. And as she explained that she was going to draw some blood, he judged from her accent that she must be from the Caribbean or maybe West Africa. Then as she moved to draw the blood she said very slowly and clearly, “Have you found your God yet?”
She asked it as casually as she might have asked, “Have you found your car keys yet?” She sensed her genuine concern and as coming from someone who had already found her God.
Following his recovery her words continued to haunt him and so much so that he set out to “find” God, despite the fact that he didn’t really know anything and was pretty unsure of just about everything. He did not want to think he was an atheist. He wondered if he was an agnostic, which literally means, “one without knowledge.” But he was hesitant to consider himself as an agnostic who doesn’t know if God exists and doesn’t particularly care.” At this point he described himself as a “Confusionist” meaning he was deeply and profoundly confused when it came to questions about God and religion.
So he set out in a series of what he called “Flirtations with the Divine” to find his God. (Eric Weiner, Man Seeks God, Twelve, Introduction)
I thought of Eric Weiner when I read our text today of a Samaritan village and three men who flirted with the Divine, so to speak. The three men were searching for and felt they had found their God.
There is a bit of a back story to our text. Jesus had set his face toward Jerusalem where he would ultimately give his life for all the sins of all mankind for all of time. I Peter 3:18 His was a serious business and so much so that he was willing to sacrifice everything, up to and including his life, in order that we might have eternal life. Philippians 2:5-11 and John 3:16
When it comes to matters of faith people have the right to choose. They may be terribly mistaken in their decision but it is their choice to make.
I. The Rejection Factor
But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. Luke 9:53
On his way to Jerusalem he had chosen to pass through Samaria rather than skirt it, as most Jews did. The Samaritans did not like the Jews and the Jews did not like the Samaritans. Their issues were both racial and theological… and that’s another story.
In the world of organ transplants they refer to the rejection factor. One of the factors to consider in organ transplants is that an organ may be rejected by the recipient. In the world of sales there is a rejection factor… not everyone buys. In the world of romance not everyone you love will love you back. In matters of faith people accept Christ and people reject Christ, i.e., the rejection factor.
At any rate when Jesus and his disciples passed through Samaria they found a very unreceptive and even hostile audience. They were received so poorly that James and John (Sons of Thunder) were so angry they wanted to call down fire from heaven to burn up the Samaritans. The bible says Jesus rebuked them and they went on… In other words Jesus accepted their rejection without malice and went on his way to Jerusalem.
One day I stopped by to visit a couple in our church who owned and operated a grain elevator and feed business in our town. While I was there a pastor, new in the community, came into their office. He was offended by the school mascot and wanted them to sign a petition he had drawn up to change the school mascot. Being life-long residents in the community and having graduated from the local high school, they respectfully declined to sign the petition.
So the pastor took his clip board, went out the front door, dropped his clip board onto the walk, removed his shoes and banged them together in anger and stomped off. According to his understanding of Luke 10, he thought he was doing what Jesus wanted him to do. It is unfortunate that would essentially damn my friends to a Christ-less eternity over his petition… but back to Jesus in Luke 9.