Jesus Sets His Face for the Place He will Die
These are the readings for the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost.
God’s Word for This Week
Following seems easy. We just go behind the person in front of us. But following Jesus daily for our whole lives requires endurance. It is a struggle between our old and new selves.
Traditional First Lesson – 1 Kings 19:14-21
Why did Elijah despair? (See 19:14.)
Elijah despaired because he felt he had been very zealous for the Lord Almighty, but the Israelites had totally rejected God. He thought he was the only prophet left, and now the Israelites were trying to kill him too.
Besides giving him vital work to do in commissioning others to serve the Lord, how else did the Lord comfort Elijah? (See 19:18.)
The other way the Lord comforted Elijah was by assuring him that he had reserved 7,000 other believers in Israel.
Supplemental First Lesson – Jonah 3:3–4:4
When Jonah finally got to the city where God had sent him and preached there, the people of Nineveh believed God. When he saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, what did God do? (See 3:10.)
When God saw how the Ninevites repented and turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.
How angry was Jonah as a result?
Jonah was so angry at God’s patience and mercy—which Jonah knew by heart from God’s description of himself in Exodus 34:6,7—that Jonah got irate. He told God he wanted to die. He refused to answer God when God asked him if he had a right to be so upset. (How similar we can be to Jonah! How opposite Jesus was!)
Traditional Second Lesson – Galatians 5:1,13-25
For what did Jesus set us free? (See 5:1.)
Jesus set us free for freedom—freedom from guilt and the oppression of having to keep God’s whole law; freedom from the demands of the law given just to the Jews of old on Mount Sinai.
How will we want to use our freedom? (See 5:13.)
We will want to use our blood-bought freedom not to indulge our flesh but to serve one another in love.
What happened when we were baptized and brought to faith in Christ? (See verse 24.)
When we were baptized and brought to faith in Christ, we crucified our sinful flesh with its passions and desires.
Supplemental Second Lesson – 2 Corinthians 11:21b-30
When Paul compared himself to the “super-apostles” in Corinth, he did not list all his success. What did he list?
Paul listed as his credentials all the trials he had gone through, including imprisonment, frequent floggings, and many dangers. He had often been near death.
What other constant pressure did Paul feel? (See 11:28.)
Paul also felt daily pressure of his concern for all the Christians in the churches he had helped start and had visited. When the people were weak, he felt weak. When believers fell into sin, it tore Paul up inside.
About what, then, did Paul boast? (See 11:30-32.)
Paul boasted about his weakness, not his strengths. Final case in point: Paul began his ministry by narrowly escaping death in Damascus.
Gospel – Luke 9:51-62
As the time approached for Jesus to be taken up to heaven, what did he do? (See 9:51.)
As the time approached for Jesus to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. Literally, he “fixed his face for Jerusalem.” He was determined to die for us.
Why didn’t one Samaritan village welcome Jesus? (See 9:53.)
The people of the Samaritan village did not welcome Jesus because he was heading for Jerusalem. Jews and Samaritans in Jesus’ day usually had a strong dislike for each other. (Yet Jesus had mercy on these people.)
What is the main point for us, as Jesus talks with three men separately about following him? (See 9:57–62.)
The main point for us, as Jesus talks with three men about following him, is full dedication to Jesus and his kingdom. Halfway? No way.