here is the link for today’s reading: http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=324577034
On the Road to Jerusalem 9:51
This is a major shift in Luke’s narrative, the Galilean ministry is over, the time has come, and Jesus is headed towards Jerusalem. It is important to note this shift and to pay attention in the ways Jesus changes as he faces Jerusalem, knowing of course where he is truly headed.
- What do you think is the major shift in Jesus now “facing” Jerusalem?
Samaritan Rejection 9:52-56
In a gospel that works pretty hard to be inclusive of groups beyond the jewish people, its a little odd that the first thing that happens as Jesus sets out is that he is rejected by an outside group. It could speak to needing to be inclusive even to those of who reject us. It could just be a sign of more of the same to come, next time even from his “own” people. It could fit in the larger theme of Jesus often being rejected. It could be a lesson in quickly getting over rejection as the text tells us he turned and rebuked them, and then went, seemingly directly, to the next town. Or even simply that one does not need to resort to extremes (like commanding fire upon a whole village) when things don’t go as planned.
- What do you think? What do you think the purpose of this short pericope is?
Foxes have holes 9:57-58
This almost comes across as either a throw away line, or as kind of a mean thing to say to someone. But I have to wonder that if Jesus is so focused on what is to come, which will certainly be painful, if he isn’t too worried about people’s feelings at the moment, and wants people to make they understand that following him is not living in the lap of luxury, but a hard road, one with no regular place to comfortably sleep. In many ways, this series of passages seems like its working to shift the tone, get us ready for the next phase as readers or listeners.
- What do you think the man did after Jesus told him the Son of Man had no place to lay his head, do you think the man understood the Son of Man as Jesus?
Let the Dead Bury the Dead 9:59-60
If the last pericope seemed abrupt or rude, then this pericope really takes the cake on insensitive responses to those wishing to follow Jesus. I also think this is one of those passages out of context can be really misunderstood. Again this is found in a series of quick statements that set up the road ahead as a particularly difficult one. I have to think Jesus is telling him that repentance in this case is embracing this new life on the road over the past life, and not any particular directive for how to approach funerals.
- How do you interpret the line: “let the dead bury the dead”?
Don’t look Back 9:61-62
Maybe the toughest of all these statements? Jesus almost sounds bitter. There is almost a tone of, OK Luke, we get it, following Jesus is hard, and what Jesus was heading into was even harder, but it important to not ignore these passages, their place at the beginning of the journey to Jerusalem is very very intentional on Luke’s part.
- Do you think we really have to leave everything behind and never look back as followers of Christ? How do we come to terms with not only this pericope, but the last few that sound so harsh?
Commissioning of the 70 I 10:1-12
This clearly echoes with the commissioning of the disciples, sent with nothing. This time though, they are sent to all the places Jesus is planning on going, which is a little different than his instructions to the disciples, who were told to go out to all the villages, the places Jesus wasn’t able to go. Also interesting as I read this over again, is that he is telling the 70 he is sending to have God send out even more people. In some ways this is the beginning of apostolic succession, even before Jesus was crucified and resurrected. If each of those 70 managed to inspire another 10 or so folks, thats all of a sudden 700 people helping out and so on. Remaining in one house is also interesting, and taking seriously the eating everything that is given to you, an important instruction for any form of ministry, even today. Also important to notice is that Jesus sends them out in pairs, so they will not be alone, we presbyterians need to remind ourselves of that particular fact on a regular basis. I will say, the last verse of this pericope, its pretty intense, any comparison to sodom is a tough one. Paints Jesus as someone who really wanted to make a point.
- Why do you think Jesus wanted all these folks going to the town ahead of Jesus? How is this different than his Galilean ministry?
- What does it mean to have the Kingdom of God draw near, specifically in this instance?