Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary of the New Testament

  • Samaritan Opposition (Luke 9:51–56)SAMARITAN OPPOSITION (9:5156)GALILEE, SAMARIA, AND JUDEA The region around Mount Gerizim was the location of many Samaritan villages.At 9:51, Jesus’ Galilean ministry comes to a close and a section begins that has been called Luke’s “Travel Narrative” or “Journey to Jerusalem.” Luke tells us at this point that “Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem” (lit., “set his face to go to Jerusalem”) in order to fulfill the role of the suffering Messiah (see 13:3135). Luke takes ten full chapters to treat a period that Mark covers in a single chapter.The journey to Jerusalem begins with a story of opposition from a certain Samaritan village. It continues the theme of the disciples’ pride and self-importance found in 9:4650 and alludes to the theme of God’s love for all people, regardless of ethnic or cultural background.When Jesus sends messengers ahead to prepare a Samaritan village for his visit, the Samaritans refuse to welcome him (see 9:48) because he is traveling toward Jerusalem. When James and John ask whether they should call down fire from heaven to destroy the village, Jesus rebukes them. The episode forms a fitting introduction to a travel narrative in which God’s love for the outcast is on center stage. Despite their past animosity toward God’s people, even despised Samaritans are offered the free gift of salvation that Jesus brings (see Acts 8:425).To be taken up to heaven (9:51).The Greek here is literally “for his taking up” or “his ascension” (analēmpsis), with no specific reference to “heaven.” Analēmpsis is occasionally used of death in Jewish literature, and this sense may be present here. More likely, however, the meaning is similar to the term exodos in 9:31 and refers to the whole event of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven.Copyright © 2002.

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