Gospel Reflections for Sun June 30th

24 June 2013

What is the cost of following Jesus today?

Luke 9:51-62 Gospel reading for Sunday June 30th 2013

A new patch of hostile territory surfaces this week. Surprisingly Jesus is already talking about the journey to Jerusalem. In order to make the trip to Jerusalem form the Northern territory around Galillee it was necessary to pass through Samaria. This was at least a 3 day journey. The Samaritans were quite hostile towards the Jewish pilgrims who were passing through and were not at all helpful in even providing them with overnight shelter. This is quite contrary to what would happen in Jerusalem as people flocked in for the Passover. It was the done thing for all of the locals to open up their houses, backyards, "garages" to one and all.

From what I can gather this is a turning point in the ministry of Jesus. From this point forward in Luke's Gospel, Jesus will have the cross as a central focus in his teaching. But what do we make of some rather harsh comments of Jesus here? Not exactly encouraging care responsibility to family if we take this literally.
I suspect that this is another example of the genius of Jesus teaching style. Is he simply making the point that commitment to him can be something that we tend to put off, or do in half-baked fashion? I'm not sure. I can see though that it does ask us to examine the cost of being his disciple. Is this any greater cost now as it was then? In the end though is it really a cost? If we get this right, what the world views as an outrageous cost is ultimately an amazing grace-filled reward, far better than the return of the top 100 super funds all put together!






I reckon the key to these verses is actually in the last verse re keeping your eyes on what's ahead and leaving behind what's past - otherwise this pericope is more law - but the Gospel is about handing over our 'past' to God each day, leaving the rubbish behind and stepping forward in faith....


(Thanks to Mark Doecke, Principal, St Paul's College, Walla Walla.)