Luke tells us that Jesus ‘took the road for Jerusalem.’ As he set out, Jesus knew what was almost certainly waiting for him in Jerusalem. In the capital city of his own nation, he would be arrested, betrayed by his friends, and put to death on the Cross. Jesus knew what lay ahead, but he set out on the road in obedience to his Father’s plan of salvation. He was ready to give his life.
Jesus was completely obedient to God the Father, and the three little stories that we hear in today’s Gospel show us that he asks for 100% commitment from his disciples, too. One man says he is ready to follow Jesus ‘wherever he goes.’ Jesus warns the man that he and his disciples have no fixed home and no stability – nowhere to lay their heads. One disciple wants to bury his father, another wishes to say goodbye to his family. Jesus tells them that nothing – not even family – is more important than spreading the Good News of the kingdom of God.
But that is not the most startling thing that we hear in today’s Gospel. When the people of a Samaritan village refuse to welcome Jesus and his disciples, the brothers James and John want to take revenge. But Jesus tells them off. The Samaritan villagers may regard Jews as their enemies, but Jesus is teaching his disciples to love their enemies. This is, perhaps, the hardest of Jesus’ teachings – to love our enemies – but he gives us the example himself.