We have a different Jesus today. In earlier readings in Luke we have a forgiving, cajoling, patient Jesus, but not today. Our passage begins with Jesus turning his face to Jerusalem, and with a steadfast resolve he is heading in that direction. He almost seems impatient to get there, being rather short with the disciples accompanying him: rebuking one, ignoring an offer of hospitality from outsiders, criticizing those who want to accompany him, telling those who want to take care of family business before joining him that they don't have their priorities straight.
It is almost as if a switch has turned on in Jesus' head; where he is going, what he has to endure and do, has become crystal clear to him and he is just not going to put up with anymore b.s. from those who are his followers. It is almost like he read our passage from Ecclesiasticus today: Watch for the opportune time....do not be ashamed to be yourself...do not refrain from speaking at the proper time...never speak against the truth....do not subject yourself to a fool....fight to the death for the truth....do not be reckless in your speech or sluggish and remiss in your deeds.... Jesus is making himself ready, if he isn't already, to "be taken up".
When we know what we have to do, when we know what we are doing is not the right thing, today's passage is challenging us about our response to that self knowledge. Do we resolutely face Jerusalem, or do we pretend that we are not really facing that way?
Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.