Luke 9:53

ESV But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem.
NIV but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem.
NASB And they did not receive Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem.
CSB But they did not welcome him, because he determined to journey to Jerusalem.
NLT But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem.
KJV And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.

What does Luke 9:53 mean?

Jesus and the disciples are traveling south, from Galilee through Samaria, and to Jerusalem. Jesus has sent "messengers" ahead to a town in Samaria to "make preparations for him" (Luke 9:52). Perhaps they are to announce that Jesus is coming to teach. Or they may be looking for food and lodging. Whatever their goal, the locals reject them. There are two possible reasons they would do so.

It's possible the villagers are refusing to listen to Jesus teach. The beliefs of the Samaritans are a combination of Judaism, historic idolatry (1 Kings 12:25–33), imported Assyrian religion (2 Kings 17:24–33), and teachings from a Jewish cult established about four hundred years before Jesus' birth. As the woman at the well tells Jesus, Samaritans worship on Mount Gerizim (John 4:20). Samaritans may fall victim to religious teachers and charlatans who practice magic for money (Acts 8:9), but they reject the idea that Jerusalem is the only place to worship God.

If the villagers are refusing to provide lodging for the group, they are breaking a sacred cultural obligation for hospitality. Yet their reaction is understandable. The religious and ethnic mixture of the Samaritans led to serious civil conflict. This came to a head when John Hyrcanus became high priest. He was the son of one of the Maccabean brothers who fought against Antiochus IV Epiphanes and won a time of political independence for the Jews. In 128 BC, John Hyrcanus attacked the city of Shechem and destroyed the Samaritan temple on Gerizim. So, as Jerusalem is both the religious and political center of the Jews, the Samaritans have political as well as religious reasons to reject Jews.

In Luke's writings, however, this village is an anomaly. The next villages will accept Jesus (Luke 9:56). Thanks to the testimony of the woman at the well, Jesus will make great inroads in her town of Sychar (John 4:1–42). The blind man who returns to thank Jesus while nine others run off is Samaritan (Luke 17:16). Jesus uses a Samaritan in a parable to exemplify hospitality (Luke 10:33). And after Jesus' crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, Samaritans will be some of the first to accept Jesus as their savior (Acts 8:4–8, 14–17)—even John will return and preach the gospel throughout Samaria (Acts 8:25).

This is the first pericope—or story—in the section of Luke sometimes referred to as "The Travelogue to Jerusalem." Jesus' journey toward Jerusalem, as He teaches His disciples to follow Him so they can build the church, starts with rejection. Before He enters what is commonly called the "Passion Week," Jesus will mourn over the rejection of Jerusalem (Luke 13:31–35). Jesus enters the city with much fanfare, but the religious leaders will tell Him to rebuke the celebrants (Luke 19:39). In a moment, James and John offer to call down fire to destroy the Samaritan village because they reject Jesus (Luke 9:54). They don't yet understand that the Jewish leadership will not only reject but conspire to kill Jesus.
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