Something To Save

Luke 9:51-62

Going to Jerusalem for the last time.

I don’t get why the Samaritans wouldn’t give Jesus hospitality “because he was going to Jerusalem” unless he was already so famous that everyone knew that if he went to Jerusalem at Passover that there would be bad trouble.

Maybe everybody was afraid of what would happen if they were marked out as accomplices because they helped him and gave him a place to stay, instead of telling him there was no room at the inn.

Maybe Jesus was running on fumes by this time, and being turned away felt like another indictment added to his upcoming death sentence. Maybe he felt like someone had kicked him in the gut. Maybe he found out exactly how his parents felt at Bethlehem. There’s an alternate source for verses 55 and 56 that has Jesus saying to the disciples who wanted to punish those inhospitable Samaritans: “You don’t know what Spirit you are of;  for the Son of Man did not come to destroy people’s lives, but to save.”

I like that. “Not to destroy, but to save.”

Maybe the whole point of the stories about his conversations on the road with various wannabees was to show that Jesus was not going to let any hapless, random admirer get caught up in what was about to happen.

So, the one who said, “I’ll follow you” got told that he’d only end up homeless.

The one who answered Jesus’s call to follow him by saying, “Let me go and bury my father first,” well, he got told to go and do that, and when he’s done letting the dead bury their own dead, then he needs to go and proclaim the Kingdom to the living.

The one who prevaricated, and said he would follow Jesus but only after he went to say goodbye to the folks at home, he got told in no uncertain terms that he had to choose one or the other. I can imagine Jesus saying something like, “Your family won’t thank you for telling them that you’re going to follow a troublemaker to Jerusalem and likely get yourself killed. Go home and stay home, and don’t look back.”

I hear him saying something like this:

"For me, there’s only

one place left to go.

I see you—

with your dreams

and your hero-worship.

Go away.

Once you’ve figured out

what this was really all about—

you’ll know what to do.


Go away!

Live your lives.

That way,

you might leave me with something

to save."


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