Term 2 – Week 4
Big Idea – Following Jesus means following the pattern of rejection and sacrifice
- Understanding the rejection and sacrifice involved in following Jesus but being convinced of its worth
- Belief – following Jesus is really hard but it is worth it
- Behaviour – be willing to be rejected and sacrifice good things for the sake of following Jesus. Even this week!
Luke 9:51 heralds a new section of Luke’s gospel, which runs until 19:44. This section is where Luke departs from Mark and Matthew and embarks on a collection of teachings in what is known as the ‘Travel Narrative.’ Luke collects these teachings together into this narrative for our benefit. Remember Luke wants his readers to know the certainty of what we are being taught.
In the first section of Luke until this point Luke has been focused on the identity and purpose of the coming of Jesus. This section comes to a head in 9:20 when Peter declares that Jesus is the Messiah. All the healings and extraordinary revelations that have come before point to this moment. The consequences are that Jesus predicts his death twice and shows three of them his glory in the transfiguration. He declares that discipleship means that ‘whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’ The focus now shifts into what discipleship, following Jesus, looks like.
So, we get to our passage in this lesson. We have two separate sections. The first verse signals the shift as Jesus sets out to Jerusalem and the culmination of his ministry. He resolutely sets out on the mission that fulfils the purpose for which he came and for what Luke has made so clear – the salvation of the world. He sends messengers to go on ahead who reject him on cultural/ethnic grounds. James and John, typically brash, decide this warrants the fire of judgement in the style of Sodom and Gomorrah. They have just seen the glory of Jesus in the transfiguration and the power has gone to their heads. Jesus rebukes them, teaching here about the regular rejection of those who herald the saviour. They simply move on. The pattern is set.
Following on from this, ‘as they were walking,’ Luke suggesting a break in time and location here, we have a collection of three followers. Each of them are eager to please and to follow, and yet Jesus exposes the way each of them have priorities that will prevent them from serving the kingdom. A normal life is not one the kingdom often creates – without the security of a home, unable to accommodate the social expectations of society or even of family. Following Jesus does not mean we reject all of these things as hindrances but rather examine our hearts to see whether the call to follow Jesus is louder than the call for a ‘normal’ life. Following Jesus is likely to cause a fork in the road; will we choose comfort and normality or will we commit to the plough of Kingdom-service?
‘my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel’
I’m following the King – EMU Music
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