Calling down fire …
One of the greatest miracles of the entire Bible had just occurred. Jesus used five loaves of bread and two fish to feed more than 5000 people. The disciples had taken part in the miracle and they were pretty proud of their accomplishment.
Not long after the bread and fish miracle Jesus decided it was time to go to Jerusalem so he sent disciples ahead of him, “to prepare and make arrangements” for him. I can imagine this is like Billy Graham sending a delegation of ministers to a city to make preparations for him to come (which he always did).
The Bible says, they entered into a Samaritan village, but “The people did not welcome him because he was on his way to Jerusalem.” Can you imagine how amazed the disciples must have been when the Samaritan’s refused to let Jesus minister in their village?
Jesus had throngs of people clinging to him all the time. He healed people everywhere he went; he raised the dead; he feed thousands from almost nothing; he opened blinded eyes; and cast out demons … and here these people refused to let Jesus do these kind of works in their town.
To the disciples, James and John, the Samaritan’s rejection was worthy of death.
They asked Jesus, “Should we call fire down from heaven to consume them … to burn them up?”
Jesus, instead of being angry with the village people, turned and rebuked his own disciples! Why? Because Jesus saw what was behind their thinking. They were thinking about judgment and condemnation. Jesus was thinking about ministering and saving those people from the chains of sin. He told his disciples, “You don’t even know what spirit you’re of (to be thinking like that).”
He added, “I didn’t come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”
Have you ever been angry with someone when they rejected the Gospel that you presented? You knew it would turn their lives around, but they rejected it. We, like James and John, can’t help but question why anyone would want the drudgery of a life in bondage when they can have a blessed life, but it happens every day, all around us.
Jesus didn’t get mad. He had no thoughts of “calling down fire” on the people who wouldn’t let him in their town. Instead, he might have whispered a prayer to his Father that their eyes would be opened and that their hearts would be receptive if he returned. He came, not to destroy, but to save. What did Jesus do? He went to another village where he was welcomed.
God longs to comfort, guide, feed, bless and encourage. Draw near to God and he has promised to draw near to you. My prayer is that we’ll not be like James and John who wanted to call fire down on the ones who rejected them.
They didn’t realize their motivation was coming from a mind-set of condemnation. Jesus’ motivation was coming from the stance of love. He simply moved on to another village. He was more interested in saving lives, than destroying them. Will we more interested in saving lives? Which mind-set will we have?
© Kentucky Publishing, Inc.