51 As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival. 53 But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. 54 When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 So they went on to another village.
The next two disciples to be called by Jesus were James and John the “sons of thunder.” James and John were brothers who fished in the family business with their father and were partners with Peter and Andrew. They were called to follow Jesus right after Peter and Andrew and they forsook everything, the family business, the fishing , and their father to follow Jesus. Like Peter, Jesus gave them a nickname in Mark 3:17, the Sons Thunder. Along with Peter they were in the inner circle of the 3 and were invited to experience Jarius daughter raised back to life, the transfiguration and to pray and witness Jesus agony in the garden of gethsemane. They asked to sit on Jesus right and left in heaven because they thought it was about a position of power instead of a passionate servanthood. John was the only disciple at the cross while James was the first of the 12 apostles to be martyred. He was killed with the sword on order of King Herod Agrippa I of Judea, Acts 12:2. So far we have looked at the disciples at the beginning of their walk with Jesus, but today we will be looking at these two brothers near the end of their 3 years of following Jesus. Luke 9:51-56 starts out with Jesus:
Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem because He knew His purpose, to be resolute is to be courageously determined. Do you know your purpose? Knowing your purpose will determine your direction and destination. Scripture says Jesus was going somewhere, He is not a drifter or a wanderer but a man on a mission. Where are you heading? If it’s to do the Will of God then what Jesus teaches in each step is that we are not called to a convenient life but a courageous one. A courageous life means that we:
• Resolve to go forward in our walk and not retreat
Jesus knew that by heading to Jerusalem that he was heading toward his death. He knew that His time on earth was soon coming to an end. He knew that before He could return to heaven that He must suffer and die, yet despite the danger He stayed the course. Some of us will say yes but He was Jesus and I can’t do that. But what about the spies that went into the promised land, two out of the twelve were courageous. They saw giants in the land, they saw the opposition yet they were resolved not to retreat. David didn’t want to retreat simply because some giant was making noise instead David stepped onto the field of battle. Are you rolling or retreating? Are you resolute or running away?
• Recognize God has a plan.
“As time drew near” Sometimes we get in a panic and instead of being resolute we react and our lives reflect panic instead of His plan. Being resolutely determined to journey on with God is more than just fulfilling a role it was real life .When we understand that His plan is our purpose we can be resolute despite the difficulties. Follow His plan leads to walking by faith instead of fear.
• Reflect on God’s presence not the problems.
Jesus knew He was heading to the cross but we are told that was not His destination (time drew near for him to ascend to heaven) Are you focused on the heartache and the hurts or heaven. Three Jewish boys were thrown into the fiery furnace for not bowing down to the king, they had the courage not to bow down because they recognized the true God and His presence. After they were thrown into the furnace the king exclaimed that he saw a fourth person in the furnace with them. You may not see God but you can sense His presence. Jesus was focused on God’s plan and presence so He made preparations by sending messengers ahead to prepare for his reception. Are you resolved to go on with God no matter what? If we are going to follow God’s plan we need to be prepared to make the reception about Jesus. So what kind of a reception did He have? They:
2. Refused to receive Jesus
The first response we see to Jesus is rejection. It’s what God often hears from us. No way, get out of town, pack it up and leave us alone. What about you is there any area in your life where you are refusing Jesus. We are either receiving or refusing. The refusal of Jesus was a worship issue. Jesus was a Jew going to Jerusalem and if you remember the Samaritans and the Jews argued over where they should worship. John 4:19 “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. 20 So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?” It’s not where we worship but who we should worship. They missed the messiah because they made worship about a place instead of a person. Today we do the same we make it about the where and the how and the church has torn itself in two over the style of worship instead of becoming one over the Savior. When you consider the relationships between the Jews and the Samaritans you realize that what Jesus was doing was a very gracious thing. He was including the Samaritans in his mission, He could have just bypassed them, but no, he sets out to stay with them, to include them in the fulfilment of God’s plan. What is their response they refuse. Are you telling God No way you are not welcome here, I do things around hear the way that I want so just keep on going? Or are you responding by receiving Him?