It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Priorities, a Reflection on Luke 9:51-62

Jesus has told his closest followers what is going to happen to him--suffering, rejection, and resurrection. He has also told him that those who follow him will have to make sacrifices. They don't get all that he tells them. They even argue over which of them is greatest. And they complain about who gets to use Jesus' name in doing Jesus' work (9:21-50).

He's already told the disciples closest to him what is awaiting him in Jerusalem. 

To get there, they leave places with people like them and travel through a place, Samaria, with people who are considered different. Different because of something that had happened centuries earlier.

There has been a long dispute between Jews and Samaritans since the exile. Samaritans are descendants of people who stayed behind and so were not considered to be the real people of God by others. We can think of our own contemporary ethnic distinctions to understand how somebody could feel superior to somebody else based on what somebody else did or didn't do a few hundred years ago.

The Samaritans don't want him there. Luke tells us that they won't receive him because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 

Or, it could be interpreted that the Samaritans refused to harbor Jesus because they knew what was likely to happen to him in Jerusalem--the suffering part, not the resurrection part. We can think of current examples of reasonable people not wanting to associate themselves with certain failures. Rome was problem enough for them anyway without adding to it.

In any case, the disciples wanted to destroy the village that refused them hospitality. Jesus said no and led them to another village instead.

Other people do want to follow him. To the enthusiastic volunteer, Jesus offers caution; to the cautious volunteer, he reminds him of the necessity for urgency.

One said, "I'll follow you anywhere." Jesus responds by warning him of the dangers. Another said, "I'll follow you as soon as I take care of some necessary matters." Jesus responds to him by telling him what matter is most necessary.

What are we supposed to do with this reminder? What priority do we put on our comfort and safety as compared to being witnesses for Christ? What priority do we put on family responsibilities? How much does Christ expect of us, anyway?

Here's the lessons I'm drawing today--1. Past problems can still cause difficulties. 2. Discipleship has risks. 3. Discipleship requires sacrifices.

No comments: