“As the time drew near for Jesus to be received up, He set His face to go to Jerusalem”
Jerusalem was always hostile toward Jesus. It cost much for Jesus to go to Jerusalem. He never felt at Home there as it was a haughty arrogant city –the household of the religious intelligencia of that day. It was a city where He experienced much hostility–yet His desire to do His Father’s will superceded any concern satan might tempt Him to have for His own comfort. He knew Jerusalem would execute Him, and that His Father’s Plan of sacrifice was at hand. His ministry up to this period was like the calm before the Storm. In Luke 12: 49-50, He is recorded as saying, “I came to cast fire upon the Earth, and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptised with and how I am constrained until it is accomplished!” Part of that baptism would be an ever increasing experience of hostility, heartbreak, contrasts and indifference from that time foreward , culminating to His ultimate death of sacrifice on that execution cross.
On His way to Jerusalem, Jesus felt led to visit a Samaritan city He was accquainted with. The Samaritans were also outcasts like Jesus- both were despised by the Religious elite. Jerusalem was a dirty word to the Samaritans because of the way Jerusalem treated these people. Jesus felt an inner kinship with the Samaritans because He identified with them. His stopping along the way to spend time with them was not only to benefit them, but a chance for them to have the opportunity to comfort Him as well by their presence.
Sadly, when they found out that He was headed toward Jerusalem, and that He was determined to get there- they became offended in Him, and would not let Him in thier city. The disciples saw the dissapointed hurt look on Jesus’s face, so becoming indignant at the rudeness of these Samaritans, they asked Jesus if they could pray for fire to come down from Heaven to kill them. This further grieved our Lord, –seeing the immaturity of His disciples- still clinging to the spirit of revenge after all He tried to teach them, and now time was getting short- His ministry coming to a close.
Quietly He left that city in Samaria, and with the disciples, they “went to another village”. As they continued their trek, some people who found out where they were , followed. One man , assuming that Jesus was probably heading to Jerusalem to finally set up His Kingdom there told Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go!” You can almost hear the sigh in Jesus’s heart as He saw through this man’s blind promise. “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no where to lay His head.” Jesus did not want to deceive this deluded man. So few truly wanted to follow Jesus– to follow Him for the right reasons. So true that Jesus literally had no place to rest His head- this was not only true in a literal sense, but also in a figurative sense as well. No group or People was willing to be identified with Him- He was never truly welcomed in the hearts of many, Nor is He even fully welcomed to this day. Yet, He , Whose heart is so tender and full of Love for all mankind really has nowhere to lay His head.
Isaiah 53:12 describes Jesus’s Baptism by fire as “pouring out His soul unto deaths”. This speaks of a continuous agony–pouring out His soul drop by drop, culminating in His complete Sacrifice on the Roman execution cross at Golgatha. When the Roman soldier pierced His side with a spear, both water and blood gushed forth. He literally died of a broken heart.
Jesus continues to suffer in spirit and soul at this very moment. Those who persecute His followers to this day are doing the same to Him. He very deeply and sincerely identifies Himself with all of His children- what they go through, He goes through WITH them on such a vicarious level that it is as though being done to Him. We recall the moment of St. Paul’s conversion, when Jesus confronted Him with a blinding light and asked him, in exasperation, “Saul, Saul, why do you still persecute Me…?” In the book of Revelations, we can sense Jesus’s sorrow behind His correction of the various churches that had become lukewarm, or stopped loving Him.
In Psalm 110, we read how God, the Father, tells His Son, “Sit at My right hand, til I make your enemies your footstool”. His sufferings in spirit and in soul will not end until time is no more and God, the Father, becomes the All in All. Now, at the right hand of the Throne of God, Jesus lives to intercede (Hebrews 7:25) “He is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Intercession involves suffering- the continuous pouring out of Himself so that others may live.