Reading: Luke 9:51-62 (NRSV)
When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him.
On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, "Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?" But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village.
As they were going along the road, someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." But Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home." Jesus said to him, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."
Traditionally, we backtrack after Transfiguration Sunday, heading to the Wilderness with Jesus. The 40 days of Lent that we follow now is wrapped up in Jesus' forty days of testing and temptation. And Mose's too; he spent forty days on Mount Sinai. The Isrealites wandered through the wilderness for 40 years. Google "significance of 40 in the bible," and you'll find plenty of cool references.
In Luke, Jesus sets a new goal, a destination, after they come down from the mountain. I'm not quite sure how long Jesus's journey actually takes. (Maybe someone will share that us!) The next 10 chapters in Luke are focused on Jesus's fascinating, story-filled journey to Jerusalem.
Some of my favorite Jesus stories are found in Luke's Gospel travel narrative: Good Samaritan, Prodigal Son, the Rich Man & Lazarus, Martha & Mary and Zacchaeus. And some of the most familiar sayings from our Faith Tradition crop up here as Jesus travels: the Lord's Prayer; "consider the lilies;" lost things are found; Kingdom sayings; and over and over there's reference back to following Jesus.
Following Jesus will not be easy by any stretch of the imagination or bloated sense of one's faith. If we are set on a point A to point B route, the phyisical path will make little sense (try to follow the map through this travel narative). And the conditions from this text don't scream: Sign Me Up!
Yet, that's what we are asked to do: follow Jesus on his Journey. So this Lent, consider:
God, help us to follow Jesus through this Lenten Season. Amen.
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