Summary: The need to be clear n our commitment to Jesus
What does the call to follow Jesus mean to you? Is it something you heard a long time ago and that’s now faded away as the years have gone by, or is it something that you hear afresh every day? Well, today we’re going to look at this passage from Luke’s gospel where the call to follow Jesus rings out clear and loud and we’ll see a number of different responses to that call.
Open up your bibles at Luke ch 9 if you haven’t already and look at v51. We’re told the time for Jesus to be taken up to heaven is approaching. Jesus had a clear sense of his purpose on earth. He knew that his time was short and that it wouldn’t be long before his work was complete. And he also knew that that work would come to it’s fulfilment in Jerusalem. So we’re told he set his face to go to Jerusalem. The NIV says he resolutely set out for Jerusalem. There’s an intentionality there that’s expressed quite strongly. He’s going to Jerusalem to fulfil God’s plan for him and for all humanity.
The Danger of Rejection
As he starts off, he approaches a Samaritan village and so he sends messengers ahead to prepare the way for him. No doubt they tell the people that Jesus is planning to stay there on his way to Jerusalem. Now if you know anything about the relationships between the Jews and the Samaritans at this point in history you’ll realise that this was a very gracious thing for Jesus to do. You see, what he was doing was including the Samaritans in his mission. He might well have bypassed them, but no, he sets out to stay with them, to include them in the fulfilment of God’s plan of salvation. But what is their response? They reject him. They don’t want to be part of anyone who’s set their face to go to Jerusalem. So here we see the first type of response to Jesus’ call to follow him, to join him on the way of the cross. One response of people to the call of Jesus is rejection. But not only do we see that, but we also see the danger of rejection. The danger of rejection isn’t what James and John, the Sons of Thunder, had in mind. It isn’t that God will strike us down on the spot. No, it’s more subtle than that, but nevertheless it’s just as daunting. The danger of rejection is that Jesus will let us have our way. He never forces us to accept him. He just goes on to another village. In other words, if you choose to ignore the call of Jesus, he’ll let you. That’s a bit scary isn’t it?
It’s a bit like the child who throws a tantrum. Some parents have learnt that the best way to deal with a tantrum is to walk out of the room. Why? Because when the child realises their bluff has been called they stop screaming. The aim of the tantrum is to get the parent to try harder to please the child. But if the child is left to scream without an audience they soon give up. Well, it’s a bit more serious when it comes to Jesus’ call. Those who reject Jesus find themselves, like that child, left alone, but what a terrible thing it must be to find yourself ignored by the living God, left to your own devices, without God to call on when you find yourself in trouble. But that’s what happens here. We’re told that they went to another village.