Reading the Word
Luke 9:51–56 (ESV)
51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. 53 But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54 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?” 55 But he turned and rebuked them. 56 And they went on to another village.
Understanding and Applying the Word
Jesus knew that his days on earth were few. He was soon to go to the cross. With this in mind, he set out towards Jerusalem. As Jesus traveled, he had to pass through a Samaritan village. This was a problem because Jews and Samaritans did not care much for each other and their animosity ran back hundreds of years. As Jesus traveled through, because he was set to go to Jerusalem, the Samaritan people did not welcome him.
The lack of a welcome angered James and John. They asked Jesus if they should call down fire from heaven to consume the people. They must have been furious! Yet Jesus rebuked them for this way of thinking. It was not time for judgment. It was time for the gospel to be preached. God will exercise judgment in his timing.
When we are ridiculed or mocked or rejected as Christians, it can be easy to feel the same way as James and John. We may feel like we want to get even or inflict punishment on others for how they treat us or the word of God. However, we must remember that it is our calling to proclaim the gospel to the world. God will take care of judging mankind. Let us show love to all people while we spread the Good News of Jesus Christ and then let us leave the rest to God.
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