As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. Then he and his disciples went to another village.
As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”
Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
Tribalism is dumb. That’s what jumps into my mind this morning reading his passage.
The second part of the passage usually gets all the love. We American Christians love talking about the importance of giving things up to follow Jesus. We love the idea that somehow we are suffering on behalf of Jesus. But, let’s be honest, in many ways it’s really easy to follow Jesus. In many ways it’s hard too, but not the ways that we might think.
The first part gets over looked. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a sermon about Luke 9:51-55.
Yet, Jesus does something here that is timely for us today.
We are living in one of the most tribal times that I can remember. Everywhere we go people have divided themselves into factions.
You are for this guy or for that guy.
You’re with this party or that part.
You’re red or you’re blue.
You think these people matter or those people matter.
You’re with them or with them.
The Jews and the Samaritans were not big fans of one another. Let me be more clear, they hated one another. Jews would typically walk all the way around Samaria as opposed to walking through it. Walking through Samaria was the most direct route North. But, the hatred was so strong they took the long way around.
Jesus doesn’t care about the tribalism but he’s aware of the tribalism. He’s concerned about it on behalf of the Samaritans. So he sends people ahead to prepare for him. They are told that they are not welcome. The disciples, being people of their time, are angry. They want to go all Sodom and Gomorrah on the Samaritan village became of its lack of hospitality.
Notice Jesus doesn’t say, “Nah guys it’s cool,” or “Dudes, it’s not that big of a deal.”
What does Jesus do? He rebukes them. This is a strong word. Jesus puts them in their place. He is disciplining for their anger towards the Samaritans. In our day and age we might say, “He ripped them a new one.”
Jesus had no sympathy for tribalism amongst those he was in relationship with. He extended grace to the Samaritans by sending messengers ahead. He extended truth to those in his circle when they displayed their tribalism.
We live in a world of echo chambers and amplification. How are you doing with tribalism? Do you make space for the other? Or, are you like the disciples and are looking to call down fire from heaven? How about with those you have relational influence over? Do you challenge them or do you go along with their tribalism?
To #lovewell is to be a person who pushes against the tribalism.
To follow Jesus means that there is no tribe with whom you can call fire from heaven with.