After completing his ministry in Galilee, Jesus begins to travel south to Jerusalem where, Jesus knows, he will die. Yet toward this destiny he has “resolutely determined” to go, as Luke tells us.
The route leads through Samaria where, for tangled historical reasons, the residents hold grudges against Jews. Not surprisingly, the Samaritans close their doors as Jesus and his disciples pass through. They don’t know or care who Jesus is. They are simply not going to offer hospitality to Jews.
If Jesus found this annoying, perhaps even more annoying was his disciples’ response to the Samaritans’ lack of welcome. “Let’s fry them with heavenly fire!” the disciples unhelpfully suggest. Samaritans can’t be expected to understand what Jesus is about. But can’t the disciples remember about forgiveness?
From time to time, we all experience casual unkindness from strangers and lack of understanding from friends. These are moments for imitating Jesus on his way to Jerusalem. He didn’t get sidetracked by bitterness or self-pity. He focused on his God-given goal–and resolutely kept moving toward it.
– Kevin Perrotta