A journey guided by mission, not popularity

Posted Mar 21, 2020

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Reminder: Resurrection’s goal is to read all of Luke during Lent. So many of the daily reading portions are somewhat longer than usual.

Daily Scripture

Luke 9:51-10:37

51 As the time approached when Jesus was to be taken up into heaven, he determined to go to Jerusalem. 52 He sent messengers on ahead of him. Along the way, they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival, 53 but the Samaritan villagers refused to welcome him because he was determined to go to Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to consume them?” 55 But Jesus turned and spoke sternly to them, 56 and they went on to another village.

57 As Jesus and his disciples traveled along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Human One[a] has no place to lay his head.”

59 Then Jesus said to someone else, “Follow me.”

He replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead. But you go and spread the news of God’s kingdom.”

61 Someone else said to Jesus, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say good-bye to those in my house.”

62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand on the plow and looks back is fit for God’s kingdom.”

Seventy-two sent out

10:1 After these things, the Lord commissioned seventy-two others and sent them on ahead in pairs to every city and place he was about to go. 2 He said to them, “The harvest is bigger than you can imagine, but there are few workers. Therefore, plead with the Lord of the harvest to send out workers for his harvest. 3 Go! Be warned, though, that I’m sending you out as lambs among wolves. 4 Carry no wallet, no bag, and no sandals. Don’t even greet anyone along the way. 5 Whenever you enter a house, first say, ‘May peace be on this house.’ 6 If anyone there shares God’s peace, then your peace will rest on that person. If not, your blessing will return to you. 7 Remain in this house, eating and drinking whatever they set before you, for workers deserve their pay. Don’t move from house to house. 8 Whenever you enter a city and its people welcome you, eat what they set before you. 9 Heal the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘God’s kingdom has come upon you.’ 10 Whenever you enter a city and the people don’t welcome you, go out into the streets and say, 11 ‘As a complaint against you, we brush off the dust of your city that has collected on our feet. But know this: God’s kingdom has come to you.’ 12 I assure you that Sodom will be better off on Judgment Day than that city.

13 “How terrible it will be for you, Chorazin. How terrible it will be for you, Bethsaida. If the miracles done among you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have changed their hearts and lives long ago. They would have sat around in funeral clothes and ashes. 14 But Tyre and Sidon will be better off at the judgment than you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will you be honored by being raised up to heaven? No, you will be cast down to the place of the dead. 16 Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. Whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”

17 The seventy-two returned joyously, saying, “Lord, even the demons submit themselves to us in your name.”

18 Jesus replied, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning. 19 Look, I have given you authority to crush snakes and scorpions underfoot. I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy. Nothing will harm you. 20 Nevertheless, don’t rejoice because the spirits submit to you. Rejoice instead that your names are written in heaven.”

21 At that very moment, Jesus overflowed with joy from the Holy Spirit and said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you’ve hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and shown them to babies. Indeed, Father, this brings you happiness. 22 My Father has handed all things over to me. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wants to reveal him.” 23 Turning to the disciples, he said privately, “Happy are the eyes that see what you see. 24 I assure you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see and hear what you hear, but they didn’t.”

25 A legal expert stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to gain eternal life?”

26 Jesus replied, “What is written in the Law? How do you interpret it?”

27 He responded, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself” [Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18].

28 Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.”

29 But the legal expert wanted to prove that he was right, so he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 Jesus replied, “A man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. He encountered thieves, who stripped him naked, beat him up, and left him near death. 31 Now it just so happened that a priest was also going down the same road. When he saw the injured man, he crossed over to the other side of the road and went on his way. 32 Likewise, a Levite came by that spot, saw the injured man, and crossed over to the other side of the road and went on his way. 33 A Samaritan, who was on a journey, came to where the man was. But when he saw him, he was moved with compassion. 34 The Samaritan went to him and bandaged his wounds, tending them with oil and wine. Then he placed the wounded man on his own donkey, took him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day, he took two full days’ worth of wages and gave them to the innkeeper. He said, ‘Take care of him, and when I return, I will pay you back for any additional costs.’ 36 What do you think? Which one of these three was a neighbor to the man who encountered thieves?”

37 Then the legal expert said, “The one who demonstrated mercy toward him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Reflection Questions

From Luke 9:51 on, Jesus was purposefully going to Jerusalem. (He arrived in Luke 19:28-30, on what we call Palm Sunday.) Luke used this to frame every event after 9:51: Jesus was going to Jerusalem, where the cross awaited. Yet as he traveled, he said Satan was falling (10:18). This was a march to victory, not defeat. That was true even though part of what it meant for Jesus to “determine to go to Jerusalem” was the growing presence of legal experts and Pharisees testing him with questions that sought to trap him. He answered the question in 10:29 with a story showing in vivid human terms how he defined loving your neighbor as yourself.

  • Luke 9:57-62 (like Luke 8:19-21) may feel troubling. Was Jesus against family love and loyalty? No (cf. Luke 2:51-52, John 19:26-27, for example). But he did say, as scholar N. T. Wright put it, “That’s how important the kingdom is: it’s even more important than the claims of family, which are themselves the most important normal claims a person can have.” * Has family, company, school or any other loyalty ever tugged you to let go of your loyalty to God? If that happens, which loyalty will you choose? The Samaritan in Jesus' story didn’t just offer casual help. He put the injured man on “his own donkey” (i.e. he walked), brought him to an inn, cared for him, paid two days wages, and offered to pay more if needed. How did Jesus' picture of the Samaritan (a man Jewish leaders would automatically despise) reflect God’s vast liberality to us? How can God’s giving move us to be generous to others in ways we never would achieve out of our own goodness?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, at every turning point in your life, you went in the direction that God’s mission for you pointed. Help me, like the Samaritan in your story, to make your inner compass the one that sets the direction for my life, too. Amen.


* Wright, N. T. Luke for Everyone (New Testament for Everyone) (p. 98). SPCK. Kindle Edition.

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Kat Friedel

Kat Friedel

Kat Friedel, a third-year seminary student at Saint Paul School of Theology, is a pastoral care intern in Congregational Care at Resurrection Leawood. She works with Rev. Steve Langhofer. Kat especially enjoys hospital visits, rehab visits, and her work with Silver Link. Kat is an inquirer for ordination in the Presbyterian Church (USA), pursuing her call to Pastoral Care Ministry. When she is not working or in school you can find Kat with her dog, Copper, at the dog park. Her favorite book is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith and her favorite foods are pizza and brownies!

God calls us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. What does this mean when we are socially distancing? What does this mean when we are quarantined? How can we still love our neighbor from our homes? I was really struggling with this for a time when the US first started quarantining. As an intern in Congregational Care, most of what I do involves one-on-one interactions. I typically spend 12-15 hours of my 20 hours a week visiting our members in care facilities, rehabilitation centers, and hospitals. How can I do this when facilities like this are now on lockdown because of the novel coronavirus?

God still calls for us to love our neighbor even in times like these. I look to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his reference to the Good Samaritan in his sermon on the night before he was shot. His sense of the Priest and the Levite was, “If I stop to help this man, what will to happen to me?” The Samaritan in the parable said, “if I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?” * God calls us to be the Good Samaritan.

We are blessed to live in a time of technology that connects us. With technology, we can communicate with patients in hospitals over the phone. We can visit with them, read Scripture, and pray together. 

Like the Good Samaritan, our Silver Link Ministry wondered what will happen to our senior members if we leave them? With this in mind, “Project Hope: Ways to Provide Care to Our Senior Members” was launched.  Through this project, staff and volunteers can call our Senior Members on the phone and send cards in the mail. This is how I will be loving my neighbor as I self-quarantine.

If you’d like to join in projects like this, click here for ideas.


* Martin Luther King, Jr. A Testament of Hope, edited by James M. Washington. HarperSanFrancisco, 1986, p. 285.

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