As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival. But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. So they went on to another village. Luke 9:51-56 It is easy to become distracted in the Christian life! The moment we understand what God wants us to do, it will seem as though everyone around us requires our time and attention. We get pulled in different directions until we realized that we are not in the place where God wants us to be. From the text, Luke emphasized what the Lord Jesus Christ was set out to do. In Luke’s narrative, he pointed out that Jerusalem now appears to be what was in the mind of Jesus; He “set His face” toward Jerusalem. It seemed that nothing would prevent Him from accomplishing His Father’s will. In His determination to go to Jerusalem, He called on to His disciples to take Samaria. The Samaritans hated the Jews and expressed so many times their feeling by rejecting Him. As Luke told in the text, the Samaritans recognized that He was a Jew traveling through their village to the hated city of Jerusalem. Jesus determined not to get sidetracked from His mission knew that the Samaritans were just responding to the hatred the Jews had shown them. So instead of agreeing with James and John’s suggestion to punish the Samaritans for their rejection of Jesus, he rebuked his disciples. Jesus went on to His journey but while on the road to Jerusalem He took the time to minister to many people including the Samaritans. He sent out seventy disciples into the surrounding towns to witness to the people about the gospel (Luke 10). He healed lepers (Luke 17). He brought salvation to the home of Zaccheus and ministered to His family (Luke 19:1-10). And as He was doing all these, He continued to teach His disciples (Luke 15:1-32). Jesus did not refuse to minister to others as He went to Jerusalem but at the same time He refused to be prevented from doing His Father’s will which was to go to Calvary. Once we know what God wants us to do, let us set our sights decisively toward that goal. Just like the example set before us by our Lord Jesus Christ, let us have full determination to accomplish His will. “Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you” (Proverbs 4:25). Once we are on that journey with Jesus, remain compassionate just like Him. Those who have received mercy should be merciful as well. And when we do, we will receive more mercy. “God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7). Once God shows us the path He wants us to take, let us respond with unwavering obedience and follow His example.
Noel De Guzman