John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.”
When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. And they went on to another village.
As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Comment: The question by John, the disciple, was no doubt asked because he wanted Jesus to get the glory generated by the other people’s healings. It was being done, we are told, in Jesus Name. So they were told not to be upset as the others were doing the same work and in Jesus’ Name.
Because they were headed to Jerusalem and the Samaritans did not accept Jerusalem as the worship place central to their synochronistic idea of Judaism, they refused to receive him and his fellow travellers. The disciples want revenge and the town’s destruction, but that is not Jesus’ way. I can see a lightning strike of his authority in his turning and rebuking them.
There are dominating concepts about following Jesus. Just wanting, is not enough to join the followers of Jesus. We need to face
- housing and travel issues. We go where commanded and are led by him.
- family issues are not to dominate. Understanding the priority of declaring the gospel message is central.
- that it is a life-time commitment. We are called for long term commitment to his service.
It seems as if the call to follow him is universal but the terms of joining the team are non-negotiable.