Today’s passage makes me sad.
When the days for his being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.
As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” And to another he said, “Follow me.” But he replied, “[Lord,] let me go first and bury my father.” But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” [To him] Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”
“The Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” There was no room in the inn at the time of his birth, the Samaritans did not welcome Him, and how many times are we not welcoming, do we turn Him away? How many times do we put other things in front of following Him? How many times do we say through our actions: “I want to follow you, but now is just not a good time, can you come back tomorrow, or the next day? or maybe after summer is over?” Unfortunately, it is easy to read this passage and feel like I am looking in a mirror. I know I am not always welcoming. And I know I put other things ahead of following God.
Urgh! I wish I could break that mirror and follow Jesus more fully, faithfully without looking back. I want to follow Him without any buts!
So, as I read the passage and think about how it reflects on my own life, I am saddened and ashamed. Then I read the part where Jesus rebukes the apostles who want to bring retribution to the Samaritans who won’t welcome Jesus. Even when we turn our backs on Him, Jesus does not respond in kind. Jesus does not punish those who turn away. Jesus just keeps walking, He doesn’t rest. He does not force us to follow Him. (Sometimes I think it might be easier if He did.) We have to choose to follow Him. We have to choose to put Him first.
I want to follow you! Help me put the buts behind me and keep you and only you in front of me.