Luke chapter 9, verses 51-56
It was October and the Feast of Tabernacles was at hand. It was a feast that commemorated the journey of the Hebrews through the desert, but, with time, it had also become something of a harvest festival.
As usual, as many as possible preferred to celebrate this and other major annual events in or close to the Temple City of Jerusalem. Jesus usually joined one of the caravans from Galilee, but this time he chose not to do so and followed a couple of days later...quietly and with just a few of His most intimate associates.
Had He gone ahead with the main contingent, He would have been the centre of attention, not only en route but in Jerusalem as well. He was at the peak of His fame. His name was on everyone's lips. His Apostles were riding high. They could taste the prestige and the power that would be theirs once the inevitable happened, the proclamation of Jesus as Messiah and King. They were not happy with His decision to go up later, quietly, more or less incognito. It seemed to them to be a wasted political opportunity.
Jesus decided to take a shortcut through Samaria but to some it was yet another unwise decision. True, they would be saving a day's travel, but they would be going through country that was traditionally hostile to Jews.
The Samaritans were Semites. They shared many traditions with the Jews but the focal point of their Faith was not the Temple in Jerusalem but rather the sacred mountain of Garazin, the scene of God's covenant with Moses and the Israelites. Prejudice ran deeply on both sides. Jewish pilgrims heading for Jerusalem would not necessarily come under physical attack but it was most unlikely that they would be able to find food or shelter at anything resembling a reasonable price. And that is just what happened. Jesus' advance party returned to say that the town to which they were headed was closed to them.
The Apostles were furious! It was an insult not to be tolerated. James and John...Jesus used to call them the "Sons of thunder"...well they lived up to their reputation and in their frustration they challenged Jesus to get mad and to get even...after all, He was the future King of Israel!
The delayed departure, the routing through Samaria...all had been planned by Jesus with this dramatic moment in mind. He had a point to make and He had to make it stick because they would have to come back to it, time and again, during the stormy days to come.
Perhaps not today but sooner or later, we too will do well to remember this incident on the road to Judea.
When rejected, slighted, insulted, overlooked, discriminated against...we can't avoid being hurt and disappointed, sometimes profoundly so ...but getting even and seeking revenge are simply not the way of The Lord.
Do what Jesus did. Leave punishment, if any, to the court of heavenly justice, and set YOUR face toward the ETERNAL Jerusalem.