Lectionary Text: Gospel, Luke 9:51-62.
Jesus began his return and final journey to Jerusalem in today’s Gospel. He first had to go through Samaria where he was most unwelcome because he was traveling to Jerusalem’s temple where the Samaritans would not go. The irony of this inhospitality is that Jesus would not be welcomed in the temple either! Referring to an earlier action by Elijah, James and John wanted to call down fire on these unkind Samaritans. Jesus scolded them for their thinking and they went on. As they traveled they met three would-be disciples. The first wanted to follow Jesus wherever he went but was reminded that he would have no place to call his own. The second one wanted to bury his father, while the third wanted to say good-bye to family members. Jesus cautioned those who wanted to follow that anyone who intended to go forward but looked backwards would not be able to be part of the Kingdom of God.
Reflection for Families
Discipleship is all about commitment and few people understand commitment better than parents. We may give up on a number of things in our lives including hobbies, jobs and even some long-standing relationships; but one thing we rarely give up on is our children. It may very well be because of our commitment to our children that we make other changes in our lives, so we really do know something about commitment. When we think of our commitment to our children, we don’t really think of sacrifice. We really aren’t giving up something because we have to parent them; we don’t do some of the things we used to do because we want to parent them. That is what following Jesus is like. We follow Jesus because we want to not because we have to.
Bringing the Gospel into Your Family
Ask each member of the family to help trace one another’s footprints on construction paper then cut them out. On their own footprint have each member either draw or write down what they must do in order to better follow Jesus. When you are finished, put the footprints in a prominent place to remind yourselves and each other what it means to follow Jesus. Perhaps you can place the footprints at your prayer table and pray for each other as you strive to walk with Jesus.
Sermon Outline Questions:
One thing that makes it difficult for me to follow Jesus is . . .
The one person I most admire as a follower of Jesus is . . . because . . .
I know how James and John felt about wanting to call fire down on someone. I’ve felt that way myself, but Jesus guided me from those feelings, too, by . . .
Lord, you are our shepherd,
Our adviser in time of trouble,
Our friend in hard times.
We look to you for guidance,
For health and warmth and daily bread.
You are our friend when we don’t have one,
Our defender when we are guilty,
Our resources when we are guilty,
Our hope when we are sick and tired.
You write the story line of our lives;
Please teach us to read it.
You require that we answer your call.
And you give as you your only reason
That we can come to you . Amen.
Contributed by Rev. R. Wayne Calhoun Sr.