The Cross as our Goal
Reading Luke 9:51-56
And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?” But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” And they went to another village.
The crucial moment of the mission of Jesus is drawing near. He is preparing to travel to Jerusalem. The Scripture says that He “steadfastly set his face;” in other words, He was committed to His mission, not looking back, but rather fixing his eyes on the road ahead. He is resolute, not seeking to escape the fulfillment of that for which he had been sent: giving His life to rescue us.
Two groups of people hinder, so to speak, the Lord’s purpose.
The first is the Samaritans, who refuse to receive Jesus because they see that He is going to Jerusalem. They still don’t understand that Jesus transcends the contention that existed between the Jews and the Samaritans. Jesus came so that all mankind would be able to worship the Father, without differentiating between Jews, Samaritans, or Gentiles.
The others who act incorrectly, and are reprended for it, are James and John. They want to destroy the entire city!
Haven’t they learned the values of the Kingdom of Christ are forgiveness, mercy, and grace? Haven’t they themselves, although looked down upon by the world, been given that same grace and called to follow the King? How can they fail to understand that the language of the Kingdom is love?
No one is my enemy.
Many people criticized Abraham Lincoln for being too polite to his enemies, telling him that it was his duty to destroy them. He responded, “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”
As W. Barclay says, “Even if someone is completely wrong, we should not consider them an enemy that we have to destroy, but rather a lost friend that we have to regain with love.”
When we understand Jesus’ mission, what He came to do for us, it produces in us grace and mercy that we can extend to those around us.
MEDITATE: How does the grace that we have received from Jesus manifest itself in how we view others?
Translation By: Emily Stader