He resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.
Surgery looms – or a tax audit or a trip to the dentist. Something we have to set our faces resolutely to the unpleasantness ahead and keep moving forward, even if it is all we can think about.
That is not the case with Jesus. Surely thoughts about the horrible death that awaited him were in his mind as he “resolutely determined” to go to Jerusalem. But one thought, which he expressed as he passed through Jericho, prevailed: “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”
Jesus came for all men and women, even the ones who do not understand him or his message. Even the ones who reject him and, like the Samaritans, refuse to welcome him. Even us. None of the suffering to come overshadowed his desire to seek and save. He did not give heed to the thoughts that reminded him who we are or what we have done. He treasures us – all of us – too much. That is how deeply he wants us to be with him.
Jesus places no limits on whom he will and will not accept. Zacchaeus the tax collector, pawn of the Romans and despised by the Jews received Jesus and salvation, joyfully. Mary Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, welcomed him and traveled with him and then apostles. The thief who hung on the cross next to him begged to enter the kingdom of heaven, and he promised him paradise that very day. Lying, cheating, stealing, committing adultery – Jesus loves you and invites you to turn to him.
He never gives up on you either. Even to those who do not welcome him at first, he gives another chance. And another. And another. He is as resolute and determined in his pursuit of you as he was in his journey to the cross. The Samaritans finally accepted Jesus “with one accord” and in “crowds” when Philip preached, some years after Jesus’s death and resurrection. Healed and delivered, they were filled with joy. Jesus is never too put off to be merciful. May we never give up hope – for ourselves or our loved ones!