Submitted by Jan on Mon, 20/06/2016 – 21:30
13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 7th after Pentecost, Proper 8
Year C (2015-2016)
Bible Book: Luke
Chapter: 9
Verse: 51 – 62

This week’s Bible lesson takes place as Jesus is passing through Samaria on his way to Jerusalem. Due to longstanding hatred between Jews and Samaritans, most Jews took the long road around Samaria rather than passing through it. This hatred had its historical roots in the Assyrian captivity of the northern Kingdom of Israel, when the Jews were deported and the land repopulated with imported immigrants from other parts of the Assyrian empire. The remaining Jews intermarried with the immigrants resulting in a “half-breed” people with syncretistic (a combination of different forms of belief) cultural and religious practices that resembled a corrupted form of Judaism. Thus, the Jews commonly despised Samaritans as impure, inferior, and unclean.

It was in this context of animosity that Jesus dared walk through Samaria on his way to Jerusalem. Jesus chose intentionally to walk through their communities and to engage redemptively with those who were considered heathen enemies of Israel. When Jesus’ disciples saw they were not welcomed, they were offended and wanted to call down fire from heaven. But Jesus, understanding the roots of this cultural hatred, and knowing his divine purpose to bring restoration and healing to all people, chose the way of grace, forgiveness and understanding. Instead he rebuked vengeful thinking and continued the journey, talking to others along the way about following God.

Thirty years into the AIDS pandemic, we continue to hear stories of people who are shunned by their own churches when they or a family member are found to be living with HIV. Some of our orphaned positive teens tell us stories of being unwanted by their guardian families because they bring shame, worry or fear, even though they have done nothing to deserve the rejection. There are many members of our communities who are scorned because they have chosen (or felt forced into) alternative lifestyles: i.e. substance abusers, sex workers, or street children who survive by stealing. Some are just impoverished and live in filthy circumstances. God’s people would often prefer to deliberately go around them, when Jesus may be telling us to walk through their lives bringing His message of grace, redemption and restoration.

To think about: Who are the people in your community you have been avoiding, but to whom God would like to send His message of redemption and restoration? What are the next steps you need to take to be God’s obedient messenger of love and grace to them?

Written By: Mrs. Hope Carter, SIM missionary, Lecturer at Moffat Bible College, Kenya and trained ‘Churches, Channel of Hope’ Facilitator

Author: Carter H. H. (Ms)
Language: English