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God’s Word for You

Luke 13:22 toward the cross

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, September 5, 2018

22 Jesus went teaching city by city and village by village as he went on his journey to Jerusalem.

The region through which Jesus went teaching began just south of the southern tip of the Sea of Galilee. It was a narrow strip of territory on the east side of the Jordan River (to the right as you look at a map) that extended down to the northern end of the Dead Sea. This region was called Perea. It was under the same administration as Galilee, and therefore Jews from Galilee usually traveled to Jerusalem using this route rather than crossing through Samaria. The reasons for this are best discussed alongside the story of the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:4-42), Philip preaching in Samaria (Acts 8:1-40) or the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).

In his Greek text, Luke uses a classical Greek expression to describe the Lord’s journey. It was κατὰ πόλεις καὶ κώμας, kata poleis kai komas (woodenly rendered “according to cities and according to villages”). One way of translating this is “through the cities and villages,” which is perfectly acceptable. But the preposition kata “through” is used in a way we call distributive: “city by city and village by village.” Jesus was not at all in a hurry to make a journey that would normally require a week at most (compare Jacob’s 300-mile trek from Haran to Gilead in ten days with sheep, women and children in Genesis 31:22-23). Jesus was taking his time, hitting all the stops, spreading the message of the gospel.

While Jesus went he performed miracles. He drove out demons. He healed the sick. He preached sermons and taught with parables. He drove the Pharisees crazy by doing these things on the Sabbath days. He proclaimed repentance and the forgiveness of sins.

If we have been paying attention to the story, we have noticed that Jesus’ emphasis in not on his incarnation (his birth). It is on his death and resurrection. He was not making this trip to celebrate his birthday, but to ascend the cross to pay the penalty for the sins of all mankind. That is where the focus of the church needs to be.

The cross of Jesus Christ is the absolute central message of the Bible. We focus our attention on his cross and we ask him to help us to bear our personal difficulties (our private crosses). Take your sins to Jesus, to the cross, and know that there is forgiveness and peace. He brought his message even to you, taking his time, doing what was necessary, so that you would come to faith in him and receive everlasting life.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.