“When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set towards Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, ‘Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?’ But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village.” (Luke 10:51-56) This Sunday’s gospel lesson marks one of the turning points in Luke’s story of Jesus. Here Jesus “sets his face” for Jerusalem. The term refers to his resolute and relentless movement toward that which awaits him there. It also could well be an allusion to Isaiah 50 wherein the “servant” sets his face “like flint.” Two things stand out for me this week. First, Jesus is moving with grave determination in one direction, but nobody else seems to be. James and John want to destroy the Samaritans who hassle Jesus (not really a part of Jesus’ plan!). Then what follows next (verses 57-62) are three would-be disciples who want to follow but have some other important matters to which they must first attend. The contrast between Jesus resolution and the disciples’ (ours?) is stark and perhaps even terrifying. Perhaps we might even despair of ever following faithfully because of the many distractions that we have in pursuit of our Lord. But that brings us to the second point. For Jesus of course, is resolutely moving toward the cross but he has something different in sight and in mind than simply his death. No, for it is we to whom Jesus moves with a relentless determination. It is his deep and unending love for you and me that will not be turned aside by anyone or anything! No matter what distraction or problem that you may face this week, never forget God is for you and not against you. Moreover, our gracious Lord never loses his determination to save us. Have a great week!