The notes this week have been provided by Mark Miller. The passage can be read here.
I Will Walk 5000 Miles…..But First Can I…..
This section gives us a feel for the timetable of heaven. Since Jesus was a twelve year old boy telling his parents in the Temple ‘I must be about my father’s business’ (AV) we know that he was subject to a divine schedule (v51), there was a clock ticking in heaven that only Jesus could hear. He was on a predetermined mission and from v51 it was Jerusalem all the way.
The Samaritans and Jews hated each other so when the Samaritans knew Jesus was going to Jerusalem, a Jewish town, they barred him from entering their village. Understanding some of the animosity between these two sides you can then see why the disciples wanted to judge the village (v54). Sadly there is no sign here of the disciples learning the previous lesson on love and grace and to ‘welcome little children in his name’, so the Lord rebukes them (v55)
Luke records three examples of people who wanted to follow Jesus but not willing enough to give up everything to do so. I want to offer a suggestion of v59 as it could read as if Jesus is being a little harsh. Note the words of the second man “Lord, first let me”. He was willing to follow the Lord but he wanted to do something first. The real issue is not his father or a funeral, it is the fact that he wasn’t putting Jesus first. The man did not have Jesus as his priority. Jesus wants us all to care for our families but he should come first and have the pre-eminence in all things.
The answer Jesus gives to these three men reflects the total commitment Jesus requires of a Christian. Jesus, being the perfect example, was treading a similar path of total commitment to Jerusalem and the cross. A path of rejection and loneliness, ‘He resolutely set out’ (v51) He was of a single mind and focused on the work his Father had given him to do. Anyone who wants to ensure they plough a straight line focuses on a single point ahead and doesn’t look away (v62). The Lord had the cross ahead of him and was resolutely fixed on that…….for us.
The challenge to us today is to respond to Jesus command to “follow me” without saying “first…. me”
“I offered my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
I did not hide my face
from mocking and spitting.
Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
and I know I will not be put to shame.” (Isaiah 50: 6-7)