Summary: The Cost of Following (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: Luke chapter 9 verses 51-62:
• One wit has written:
• “A dentist’s mistake is pulled out,
• A lawyer’s mistake is imprisoned.
• A teacher’s mistake is failed,
• A printer’s mistake is corrected.
• A pharmacist’s mistake is buried.
• A postman’s mistake is forwarded.
• An electrician’s mistake could be shocking!”
• The novelist Joseph Conrad who wrote:
• “It’s only those who do nothing that make no mistakes”.
Quote: Richard Needham
“Strong people make as many mistakes as weak people. Difference is that strong people admit their mistakes, laugh at them, learn from them. That is how they become strong”.
Our passage this evening is full of people making mistakes:
• Verses 51-56:
• The Samaritan’s make the mistake of rejecting Jesus.
• The disciples (James & John) make a mistake in their response to that situation.
• Verses 57-62:
• We meet three more people;
• Who mistake what it means to truly follow Jesus!
(1). The Samaritans:
• At times we forget how important Luke’s contribution is to the New Testament.
• When you add together Luke’s gospel and his other book – Acts;
• You are looking at about 25% of the New Testament.
• Luke 9 verses 51 -56 is unique to this gospel - none of the other writers mention it
• In fact much of the teaching in the second half of Luke’s gospel;
• Is unique to his gospel.
Verse 51 is a kind of transition verse:
• Up to this point Jesus has been busy performing incredible miracles;
• But from now on the emphasis will change to his incredible teaching
• From this point on very few miracles are recorded;
• From now on Jesus is busy teaching his followers about the kingdom of God;
(1). Jesus: Undeterred (vs 51).
“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem”.
• Earlier on in this chapter (verse 31):
• At the incident we call the transfiguration (looked at 2 weeks ago).
• Moses and Elijah appeared to Jesus and there was some sort of discussion;
• Regarding his death, his departure or exodus at Jerusalem.
• Luke now speaks of his ascension;
• Luke sets the journey of Jesus in a cosmic context;
• By telling us that the time for Jesus 'to be taken up to heaven' was approaching.
• Luke is seeing the cross, resurrection and ascension almost as a single act.
• Death would not be an accident or a mistake, it was all part of a plan.
• Luke reminds us that after the cross there would be a coronation!
Now with only about six months left of his earthly life;
• Jesus deliberately sets out to initiate the circumstances which would lead to that death!
• Quote: “He was not driven by events but a shaper of events. “
In verse 51 Jesus was moved with resolution, determination and courage.
• There was something very steely about the character of Jesus.
• He was not preoccupied with preserving his own life.
• He was focussed, determined, single minded on doing the Father’s will;
• Even if that meant a horrendous death in Jerusalem.
• And in obeying his Father’s will;’
• He would be undeterred by people’s opinions and undeterred by adverse circumstances.
• There is an urgency about this section.
• Jesus is constantly on the move;
• In a series of rapid-fire encounters with disciples and would-be disciples.
• The journey to Jerusalem begins (verse 51);
• And is reinforced by words that suggest movement:
• 'Heading' (verse 53), 'walking' (verse 57), 'follow' (verses 57-61).
With steely determination (that is the force of the word rendered 'resolutely' in verse 51):
• He strikes out southwards from Galilee to the capital Jerusalem.
• Jesus is moving out of the area where he is well known into Samaritan territory
(2). Samaritan village: Unwelcoming (vs 52-53):
“And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him;
53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem”.
Question: Who were the Samaritans?
Answer: In Jewish eyes the Samaritans were half-breeds, ethnic traitors, the bad guys!
• Samaria was originally the name for the capital of the Northern Kingdom;
• Founded by Omri (1 Kings chapter 16 verses 21-24.
• After King Solomon died civil war took place;
• And the nation was divided, Israel to the north, Judea to the south.
• During this time the Samaritans intermarried with other peoples in the region.
• They were consided half-breeds, ethnic traitors, the bad guys!
• They even worshipped at a different site,
• Instead of Jerusalem they worshipped on Mount Gerizim (John 4:20-24).