Hurting in the Name of Jesus

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As the time of his death was getting closer, he looked long and hard toward Jerusalem and set off in that direction. He sent messengers ahead of him. They went to a Samaritan village to prepare a place for him, but they refused to welcome them there because his destination was Jerusalem.

When his students Jacob and John saw this, they said, “Master, do you want us to call down fire from the sky and burn them to cinders?” Jesus turned around and scolded them.

They went to a different village. As they were on their way, someone said to him, “I’ll follow you anywhere you go.”

Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man doesn’t have a single place to rest his head.”

Jesus said to another person, “Come with me and be my student.”

But he answered, “Sir, Let me go and bury my father first.”

He said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead. You go out and preach the Kingdom of God.”

Another person said, “I’ll follow you and become one of your students, but first let me go home and say goodbye to my family.”

Jesus said, “No one who takes hold of the plow but looks behind him is of any use to the Kingdom of God.”

~ As Luke Tells It

Two main points I get from the Gospel today:

1) Followers of Jesus are not allowed to be mean, abuse, or threaten those who do not respond to Jesus the way the followers of Jesus think is appropriate.

                The “them” that Jesus scolds are His followers who are doing it wrong, not the Samaritans for rejecting Him. Atheists, agnostics, people of other faiths, and even people of other denominations are often considered by some “Christians” as essentially being “Samaritans” – spiritual mutts who worship the wrong way, with the wrong people, in the wrong places, or even worse, do not worship at all.

The Apostles want to punish the Samaritans for rejecting them and Jesus. They believe they are being good disciples for threatening the Samaritans. They believe they would be good disciples if they punished or destroyed the Samaritans. They were wrong and Jesus lets them know it.JESUS DOES NOT LIKE IT WHEN WE HURT, ABUSE, THREATEN, OR DESTROY IN HIS NAME OR IN THE NAME OF GOD! THOSE WHOM JESUS SCOLDS ARE NOT THOSE WHO REJECT HIM, BUT THOSE WHO ACCEPT HIM AND USE HIM TO MAKE OTHERS SUFFER!

Image2) If I want to be a disciple of Jesus, I do not get to be the one who sets the terms or conditions of my discipleship.

                 I imagine that the first person was a person of means who owned at least some property. I also imagine that Jesus knew that. I see it as if Donald Trump ran up to Jesus and told Him that he wanted to become a disciple. Jesus’ custom response would be something like “The Son of Man has no casinos, or limos, or mansions, or Armani suits, or caviar and champagne. The Son of Man is homeless, and hungry, and dirty, and poor. Can you be that way too?”

I suspect that Jesus would say to most of us something like:

Are you willing to give up your nine to five, weekends and holidays off or at time and a half, your well-stocked cabinets and refrigerator, your house, your car, your air-conditioning, your heat, your cocktail after dinner, your three meals a day, your bed, your cable tv, your internet connection, your watching tv at night with your feet up, your thread count, your job, your friends, your family, your loved ones, your retirement fund, your bank account, your health insurance? Are you willing to thrust yourself into uncertainty, trusting only on God and nothing else? Are you? Because that is what it means to be a disciple.”

                The other two people who offer to follow Jesus say they will do so only after conditions are just right. When life sort of settles to a place where they can stop focusing on “real life” things and focus on following Jesus, then they will become disciples. Both of these latter two people place discipleship on a back burner. First of all, we just assume that the man’s father has died, but he may still be alive and the man is saying, “I’ll follow you when I have no more serious obligations to attend to.”

IT IS EASY FOR ME TO THINK ABOUT HOW I WOULD FOLLOW JESUS BETTER (OR FOLLOW JESUS AT ALL) IF MY SITUATION WERE DIFFERENT. JESUS IS ASKING ME NOT TO BE DISTRACTED, NOT TO DIFFUSE MY COMMITMENT AND MY FAITH AND MY DISCIPLESHIP WITH CONCERNS AND OBLIGATIONS. IF I KEEP WAITING FOR CONDITIONS TO BE RIGHT OR FOR THE RIGHT TIME, IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN!

Blessay taken from: A Sheep Among Wolves: One Man’s Stubborn Commitment to the Idea that God is LOVEImage

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