Daily Reflection – 10/3/2023
When the days for Jesus to be 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. ( Luke 9:51-56)
From this point forward, the focus remains on Jesus’ imminent death in Jerusalem. Christ did not run from this destiny but set His face toward Jerusalem and the divinely appointed consummation of His ministry. He begins the long road of teaching the disciples and us how to follow Him.
James and John thought they would please Jesus by calling down fire on the Samaritans who refused to offer Him hospitality. They still had not learned that Jesus came to rescue people, not annihilate them.
Do people who reject Jesus deserve to be destroyed? It is not for us to decide, because our standards are different from God’s standards. People we reject can be acceptable to God (especially those who reject Him and later accept Him as their Savior), and people we accept can be rejected by God. God’s glory is in everyone.
Following Jesus is not easy. It’s a hard life with no place to call home. It means doing hard, ordinary work. It is in the ordinary things of daily life that God’s glory is found. If we want to follow Jesus, we must go where He would go and do what He would do.
There are some pitfalls that we need to avoid when Jesus asks us to do something that we feel is beyond us-including making the commitment to follow Him:
We must not let fear stop us. We have to trust God and let Him lead us to things beyond our human limitations.
Don’t ask for clarity. When we ask Jesus for clarity, we aren’t really obeying Him. Saying “yes” means that we don’t have all the details, but we trust God and His plan.
Don’t use responsibility to avoid following Jesus. He is more important than our families, our jobs or any other responsibilities we have.
If we’re serious about being used by God, we must ask God what we need to let go. We need to ask God to remove the barriers that keep us from following Him.
When we decide to follow Jesus, things that are of less importance have to be set aside or handed on to those who have a different calling.
Jesus is not simply taking a walk in the country. He is marching toward Jerusalem and His crucifixion. He has a lot to do and not much time to do it. He was not going to let anything stand in His way. He was telling everyone that because of their excuses they were not fit to be His disciples. Today, He tells us that if there is anything in our lives that we believe is more important than our faith in Him, we are not fit to be His disciples.
Jesus calls us to follow Him on the path to our own crucifixion where we die to self and come alive to a new life in Christ. Every day we must have our eyes, ears and hearts open to answer Jesus’ call, knowing there is no turning back.
Each of us as individuals is part of God’s plan. God will use us as individuals in ways that will be the best use of our gifts. Jesus reminds us that we have to discern His will in our lives, and we have to remember that the world will try to work against us.
Following Jesus won’t be easy. Chances are we won’t receive approval or fame. We won’t be rewarded on earth with all the comforts of life in exchange for following Jesus. We have to be willing to do what Jesus wants us to do, even when and if it’s inconvenient. Our reward will be in heaven. Jesus doesn’t reject anyone, and we as His followers will have to do the same.
The commitment Jesus requires is radical. The life of a disciple is a journey, a steady pilgrimage to a cross. Those who follow Jesus on that journey can expect that what happens to Him will happen to them. Discipleship is a call to put Jesus above care of self, care of the dead, and care for our families.
Each of us as Christians needs to be attentive to Jesus’ invitation and think about how to respond to it. Following Christ should be at the core of our lives and the basis for the decisions we make. The reading we heard from Luke’s Gospel is about a moment of decision, not just for the people in the passage, but for each of us.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, you are gracious, merciful and kind. Set me free from my prejudice and intolerance toward those I find disagreeable to my thoughts. Widen my heart to love and to do good even to those who wish me harm.”
A Christian walks a different path than the rest of the world. But it is in our difference as followers of Christ that make us so needed in this world. Amidst the turmoil, the loud voices, the anger, the finger pointing, a Christian stands apart by our tolerance, our respect for one another, our kindness, our willingness to forgive, our commitment to building his kingdom on earth.,