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“…He set His face…” (Luke 9:51)

According to Luke, Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem for the last time. Along the way, He passed through some “not-so-welcoming” territory.

It was said (verse 53) that Jesus wasn’t welcome while entering this unnamed Samaritan village, all because they knew He was heading towards Jerusalem (every Samaritan’s “nemesis city”).

Samaritans were not liked by the more orthodox Jew because the Samaritans had, through the years, failed to follow the strict law of keeping one’s bloodline pure. And, because of this, Samaritans were shunned by the greater Jewish community. Even though Jesus has never given them reason to shun Him-because He is headed toward the great city-He has become an “outsider.”

Funny how prejudice, when it begins from one faction of people, eventually becomes a “two-way street.” Jesus was always kind to the Samaritan people, but because He shows some loyalty to His own sector of the race, He has changed; He is no longer welcome. Because He has now begun the sacred journey that will bring salvation to both the Jew and the Samaritan – He has “somehow changed” and become the “foreigner.”

His journey is simply about the love for one another. Sad as it is, love for another is no longer an acceptable practice since the prejudice of the world questions and doubts the intent of such love.

So, my brothers and sisters, prepare yourself. Even if you may live by a different standard as another, you will be ridiculed for your faith. Sometimes you will be no longer welcome in places where, in the past, you were. No, I agree, this doesn’t make sense. But – I’m afraid that’s “the way of the world.”

Continue to love your neighbor. Many of your neighbors will come to love you too. And yet, this story reminds us of the reality of human love: sometimes others will NOT love or support your “setting your face” toward the acts of compassion for others. Be prepared for rejection.

In the “meantime” (isn’t it, though?), press onward in Christ’s love. Follow God’s heart. And know this:

God loves you and so do we.

Pastor Jim

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