Luke 9 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“When the days were coming to a close for Him to be taken up, Yeshua determined to journey to Jerusalem. He sent messengers ahead of Him, and on the way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make preparations for Him. But they did not welcome Him, because He determined to journey to Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they said, ‘L_rd, do You want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them? But He turned and rebuked them, and they went to another village.” Luke 9:51-56
A Samaritan, in Yeshua’s day, was a person of mixed (Jewish/Gentile) descent. In ancient history, Israel had been divided, nationally & spiritually. Ten tribes formed what was known as “Israel”; while the remaining two, (primarily Judah & Benjamin), formed what was known as “Judea”. Judea worshipped in Jerusalem, and Israel worshipped in Samaria.
Israel’s (in Samaria) great evil was idolatry. Their rejection of worship in Jerusalem and their acceptance of pagan deities grew to the point where they were inter-marrying with Gentiles. The presence of these “half-breeds” in Israel (in Yeshua’s day) was a reminder of its historic national sin. It was also the focus of prejudice for the average-to-religious Jew. Note James & John’s attitude. They wanted the judgment of Sodom & Gomorrah to fall on the Samaritans.
So, why wouldn’t Samaria want Yeshua to go to Jerusalem? The answer may be found in John’s gospel: The Woman at the Well. John 4:1-42 Prior to the events of today’s passage, Yeshua had engaged in a conversation with a Samaritan woman of ill reputation. The setting was Jacob’s well, located in Samaria. The symbolism is that Jacob was the father of Israel’s 12 tribal patriarchs. Yeshua is speaking with a woman, who symbolizes the spiritual character a people who are “kind-of” Jewish, and who are dark reminders of Israel’s not-so-faithful history.
By the way, modern Judaism considers Jewish believers in Yeshua in the same light as they do the Samaritans of Yeshua day: Partly Jewish + partly Gentile = Apostate.
Yeshua’s offering of “living water” (different from “Jacob’s” well water) to this Samaritan woman was culturally & spiritually revolutionary. Remembering that He came to “the Jew first”, we must deduct that Yeshua was officially recognizing the Samaritans’ “Jewishness”, while still setting the standard for true belief.
In response, the woman ran and told the Samaritan men, who came to hear Yeshua. They too, believed and told the woman, “We no longer believe because of what you said, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this really is Messiah!” John 4:42
Why did the Samaritans in Luke 9 not welcome Yeshua on His way to Jerusalem? I believe it’s because they loved Him, and they knew what the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem would do to Him. Yet, they were wrong in this, because in trying to protect Yeshua, they were actually hindering His mission.
Let’s not commit the same offense! We don’t need to protect Yeshua or His “image”. We must simply believe in Him, seek His Word and share the whole gospel, and let Yeshua complete the work He wants to accomplish in your friends’ lives!
~Steve Wiggins, Assistant Rabbi
Daily Devotional, Tuesday, June 11, 2013