Exploring the Scripture
Consider the first part of today’s passage (Luke 9:51–55). The disciples are struggling to understand Jesus as Messiah and how he is different from other rulers. Jesus has “set his face to go to Jerusalem” (v. 51). The quickest way there is through a Samaritan village, but the Samaritans refuse Jesus passage. James and John are furious. How dare these heretical Samaritans hinder God’s Messiah on his way to Jerusalem! They ask Jesus, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” (v. 54).
What comes next might have startled James and John—Jesus rebukes them (v. 55). James and John still do not understand that God’s kingdom is about healing and peace. Jesus rebukes us also when we are tempted by violence in the name of Jesus. Jesus does not encourage our anger or acts of violent revenge. Jesus is not a typical king. He is much different. Jesus does not act as ruler, president, or prime minister of a country.
The second part of today’s passage returns to the theme of committed, unhesitating life as a disciple (vv. 56–62). Nothing is more important than proclaiming God’s kingdom, not even burying your father or saying good-bye to your family. You cannot look back says Jesus, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (v. 62).
Community of Christ proclaims Jesus Christ and promotes communities of joy, hope, love, and peace. If we believe God’s reign on Earth, the kingdom, is one of joy, hope, love, and peace and that “The mission of Jesus Christ is what matters most for the journey ahead” (Doctrine and Covenants 164:9f), then there is nothing more important than following Christ. We should not hesitate in our commitment to discipleship. Bring forth the kingdom!
- The kingdom of God is about healing and peace, not revenge, greatness, or violence.
- Jesus Christ calls us to proclaim God’s kingdom as the highest priority.
- We should not hesitate to give our all for the mission of Jesus Christ.
Questions to Consider
- In what ways do you understand Jesus to be a “ruler”?
- Describe the nature of God’s kingdom for What will God’s reign on Earth look like?
- How is the kingdom of God different from the kingdoms of this world?
- How committed are you to the mission of Jesus Christ? What makes you hesitate?
- What are some of the ways your congregation is helping to bring about God’s reign on Earth?