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We’re glad you’ve chosen to join us as we embark on a special journey of discipleship with Jesus this holiday season! As we walk through these verses together, we’ll discover more about what it truly means to be His followers.

Each month we’ll dive into the next section of the Scripture; we’ll reflect with teaching from SIM USA lead trainer Chris Petty; and we’ll circle around shared contemplation questions, prayer points, and life applications. We’ll be sure to let you know when to check in for fresh content, so keep an eye on your inbox. And don’t forget to look for us on our social channels to share your thoughts and join in the conversation! We pray that these reflections draw us closer to our Father—and to each other—as we walk the path together.

Read — Luke 9:51-56

A Samaritan Village Rejects Jesus

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. And they went on to another village.


The heart of the gospel of Luke, a big chunk from 9:51 to chapter 19, is often called the “travel narrative” because it’s all about Jesus’ journey toward Jerusalem. But here’s the thing: this isn’t just a geographical trip. Jesus doesn’t take a direct or efficient route. Instead, it’s about His unwavering commitment to fulfilling His divine purpose in Jerusalem. And as we walk with Him on this journey, we’ll learn what it means to truly “follow Jesus.”

In 9:51-56, Jesus takes that first bold step on His journey and sends His disciples ahead to prepare the way in a Samaritan village. But the Samaritans reject Him, simply because He’s determined to go to Jerusalem. They didn’t see Jerusalem the way the Jews did in terms of worship.

When James and John see this rejection, they wonder if they should call down fire from heaven in judgment. Jesus quickly corrects them. The journey isn’t about judgment, even though the Samaritans’ response could have warranted it.

The disciples quickly learn that Jesus’ mission differs from what they expected. He’s not going to Jerusalem to establish a worldly kingdom and conquer His enemies. No, He’s going there to suffer and die for those very enemies.

Walking with Jesus means following a path that may involve rejection and suffering, all for the glory of God and the eternal well-being of others.

The road He’s on is the way of salvation!

So, as you ponder these verses, consider whether you can relate to James and John’s initial reaction. How do you feel when people reject Jesus or your beliefs?

Let’s pray together, asking God to fill our hearts with compassion, even for those who may seem like our enemies. As we journey with Jesus toward Jerusalem, may we learn to love and serve as He did.


We invite you to return to this text again at regular intervals over the next few weeks, and as you do to sink your spirit deeply into the following questions for contemplation, points for prayer, and ideas for application.

But, first, let us pause to ask the Lord to open His Heart to us as we seek Him and the ways He wants to lead us.


Our Father, thank you for your Word and thank you for your son, Jesus, who reveals your perfect love and dependable character. 

As I think about this passage, the life of Jesus, and what it means to follow Him—please help my heart, mind, and spirit to be sensitive to yours. Holy Spirit, please help me to understand these Scriptures in a new way! I ask you to guide my thoughts and my life toward the destination you have designed me for.


  1. Have there been times in your life when you “set your face” and committed to a path that you knew would bring difficulty, pain, or rejection? What did that commitment and the resulting journey cost you? Did you pursue that path alone or did you have the support of others? How did you make the decision to commit and take the first step?
  2. Jesus’ disciples, having been rejected, want to call down judgement on Samaria. Jesus, however, rebukes them instead of the Samaritans! Why do you think the disciples reacted the way they did? Have you ever faced rejection or judgement from others? How did that make you feel? How did you respond?
  3. It seems the disciples did not yet understand where their journey with Jesus was truly leading. What do you think the disciples expected from Jesus at this point in His ministry? What expectations do you have regarding your own life and walk with Jesus? Have those expectations been met? Why or why not? Where do you think those expectations have come from?

Let’s carry these thoughts, plus our confusion, expectations, disappointments, and desires to Jesus in prayer. Then, let us listen and wait expectantly for His answer.

Lord, help us to have ears to hear!


The Word of God is living and active. It challenges us to change the way we live—inviting us to become more like Jesus as we walk with Him toward Jerusalem.

At the end of his video, Chris called us to respond to this passage of Scripture by asking God to fill our hearts with compassion for people we might consider our enemies. This is a prayer that the Lord is sure to answer! His Word makes it clear that this is a request consistent with His desires for us as His people—His agents of love and reconciliation in the world.

So, as He fills your heart with the compassion of His, we invite you to choose an “enemy” to pray for.

Let’s commit to spending at least one minute each day for one week in prayer for someone who challenges us.


The life of faith is one that is meant to be lived in community! 

You can share your thoughts, seek prayer, and find support by connecting with SIM USA and others who have set their faces to following Jesus through our social media.

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