This passage continues on with Jesus' teachings about the Kingdom. These teachings have been grouped together for our edification; they are not in chronological order. Also, the people described in these incidents remain unnamed and are not important. Each person's path is unique. We are all going the same direction, yet we have different experiences, experiences, and flaws. These principles must be applied to our own lives as they fit.
This passage contains four incidents from which principles may be seen.
First (v. 51-56), we see Jesus and the Samaritans. Jesus was passing through Samaria and sent the apostles ahead to prepare for Him a place to stay. But the people in Samaria would not receive Him, because of their religious bigotry. The Samaritans were a mixed group of people who had cultural and religious differences from the Jews. The had their own center of worship, so they rejected Jesus because He was going on to Jerusalem, the center of Jewish worship. The disciples wanted to respond by calling down fire, but Jesus said no -- that was not why He came.
The principle to be gained from this passage is that rejection is to be expected. Jesus was rejected. You will be rejected upon sharing the gospel. It is not due to our failure, a lack of providing the correct information to the hearer. Rather, it is due to a moral failure on the hearer's part. What is our response? Not to be angry and wish them harmed, but to love them and continue on.
Next (v57, 58), we have the example of the willing follower. A man tells Jesus he is ready to follow Him, so Jesus explains that he will have to live an unsettled existence.
The principle? We are traveling through this life. We shouldn't be trying to find a settled, permanent comfortable home here. This life here is a short stop. It will not always be a comfortable existence -- we must be stepping out of our comfort zone.
In verses 59 and 60 we have the example of a man who was called to follow Jesus, but first asked to bury his father. Now, in the culture of the Jews, burying a father was the highest responsibility of the oldest son. This was a very important thing. But Jesus taught the principle that nothing -- even this thing -- was to take precedence over the commands of Christ. This was no minor issue, but still it held no comparison to obeying Christ's commands.
The final example (v61, 62) is of a man who wanted to follow Jesus, but first he needed to say goodbye to his family. This was a man with a mixed love. He was saying, "I love the Lord, but I love my family equally." The point here is that our love for Christ must be supreme. Our eyes must be fixed on Christ. We must serve Christ with singleness of heart and singleness of mind.
Note that Christ does not condemn normal life experiences. These things are used as teaching tools, for us to apply these principles and keep proper perspective in our relationship with our families and our Lord.