October 12 – Luke 9:51-56

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Luke 9:51-56 – Samaritans Reject Jesus

This is often called the “Journey” section of Luke’s gospel. He begins telling the story of Jesus’ final journey to Jerusalem. He is a consummate story teller, beginning with a story of Jesus’ rejection by the Samaritans. Up until this point, the crowds have anticipated his arrival, looking forward to the one who would heal the sick and perform great miracles.

The Samaritan’s rejection of Jesus is a bookend for the next part of his ministry. On the other side of this will be the ultimate rejection as the Jews of Jerusalem crucify him. As one who looked backwards to the story, Luke recognizes that Jesus saw what was coming and tells us that he became determined to push forward.

Those moments with Moses and Elijah at the Transfiguration and the discussion of his imminent departure are now always with him and it becomes imperative for him to finish his training of the disciples.

Samaria is south of Galilee on the way to Jerusalem. We don’t know which community Jesus sent his messengers to in preparation for his arrival, but they were refused hospitality. Samaritans worshiped at Mount Gerezim, rather than Mount Zion (Jerusalem), but it had been destroyed in 128 B.C.  Jews at the time would choose to go around Samaria rather than through it because of the enmity between the two peoples, but Jesus had chosen to reach out to them.

In Luke 9:53, we read that they didn't receive him because his face was set toward Jerusalem. It may well have been that since he refused to recognize Gerezim as the place of worship, they wanted nothing to do with him.

The disciples were furious. This was a reflection on the honor of their master. But Jesus rebuked them. His ministry is not one of judgment. The Twelve have been given great authority and power, but they are simply to warn and to teach. The issue of judgment is reserved for God and will happen in another time and another place.