Traveling together brings a certain focus to community life. Journeying together, fellow travelers find the old, comfortable and familiar giving way to new sights, different routines, strange faces and stranger customs. Amidst the changing surroundings and experiences, the fellow pilgrims often find themselves restating values, reaffirming core beliefs, and testing the boundaries of their community life.
So it was for Jesus and his disciples as they left the comfortable surrounds of Galilee in the north. Jesus had no sooner “set his face toward Jerusalem” than the ensuing journey brought he and his disciples face to face with people from across the cultural spectrum. Some were hostile from the outset, while others volunteered their commitment to join Jesus, so long as he allowed them to set the terms. Still others were recruited by Jesus, but had matters in their life that took higher priority than Jesus’ call.
Each new encounter brought different reactions from the disciples and new opportunities for Jesus to teach them the nature of their work and their community. In the end, Jesus would show them the true nature of his mission—a mission which is unfettered, undistracted, and undeterred but the cultural diversity encountered along the way.