As the time drew near for Him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for His arrival. But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because He was on His way to Jerusalem. When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up [as Elijah did]?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. [And He said, “You don’t realize what your hearts are like.][For the Son of Man has not come to destroy people’s lives, but to save them.”] So they went on to another village.Luke 9:51-56
We have now arrived at a significant point in Luke’s Gospel. it’s the beginning of what is technically called the Greater Interpolation. In layman’s terms this refers to the longer inserted block of purely Lukan material which extends from 9:51 to 18:14. Have a lightening look over it and you will see something interesting. Luke frames this section as a journey but there is not much journeying that takes place between 9:51 and 18:14. It is all teaching. Remember Luke and Matthew are mostly focused on what Jesus taught. Mark is focused on what Jesus did and John is concerned about who Jesus is.
It is hard to follow any journeyings in this section of Luke. Some think it is like a more leisurely journey to Jerusalem and this teaching took place along the way. Others think there were two journeys to Jerusalem, one to the Feast of Tabernacles ( viz John 7) and the second which began in Luke 17:11. Still others suggest it is divided into two traditional views of Jesus’ last journey to Jerusalem – one from 9:51-10:42 and the other from 17:11-19:28. Those who think this believe the actual journey is irrelevant and Luke is just using the journeys to give his material a framework. They think that the notion of a journey has more spiritual or theological significance than actual. It is just hard for them to agree on what that significance is. Bear all this in mind as you read.
Here are the elements in whole segment which refer to the journeying and Jerusalem as such:
- “He steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem” (9:51).
- “His face was as though he would go to Jerusalem” (9:53).
- “They went to another village” (9 :56).
- “As they went, he entered into a certain village” (10:38).
- “And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying towards Jerusalem” (13:22).
“And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee” (17:11).
- “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written . . . shall be accomplished” (18:31).
- “He was nigh to Jerusalem, and they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear” (19:11).
- “He went before them ascending up to Jerusalem” (19:28).
Far from this section being a rather leisurely journey toward Jerusalem, it seems to me that Luke makes the focus the coming death, resurrection and ascension. Picking up on the two references made earlier in his Gospel to the death, resurrection and departure it seems that is the focal point ahead. Bear that in mind as we work through the teaching too. Keep asking yourself what is the big picture here. What hangs it together? It is for sure that Luke had something in mind as he wrote this ordered account.
Now we need to turn our attention to the first part of this story, this journey. The verses we have before us today are filled with interesting things but for a host of different reasons. See what you can find yourself before I draw your attention to what is obvious to me and apply myself to the other elements that are in the story. Just at a quick glance I can see six elements which need investigation. Each of those six things indicate to me places to dig for the gold beneath. Go and get your magnifying glass out and put on your Sherlock Holmes hat and get to work. I will meet you back here in the first Samaritan village in the next Gem.
Oh alright because it is a holiday here today (Indonesian Independence Day) I will be kind to you and point them out and then leave you to investigate them. It amounts to one interesting element per verse.
- “Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.”
- One translation says “set His face like flint”.
- I have already commented on the sense of the Journey. But the construction is interesting.
- “not welcome in a Samaritan village” . . .
- because He was on His way to Jerusalem”
- taking note of the brackets and the greying out – you know now what that means.
I am not sure how long it will take me to work through this unit. There is a lot in here that is worthy of comment. But again I don’t want to turn the Gems into a commentary. I want to keep it interesting for you and not bog you down with irrelevant detail. There is a delicate balance between irrelevant detail and what’s necessary for full understanding when it comes to the text of the Bible. I tread a fine line. Simple tell me when you think I am bogging down. Tell me Ian, “Move on. Set your face like flint Ian. The cloud is moving on, let’s go.” Interact with me I love that.
If your encounters with God don’t leave you with more questions than what you started with then you have had an inferior encounter.Bill Johnson
The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything!Rick Godwin
If God was small enough for us to understand, He wouldn’t be big enough to worship!Rick Godwin
PUSH = Pray Until Something HappensKezia Debora