When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?”But Jesus turned and rebuked them.So, they went on to another village.
The reaction of the disciples seems very harsh and without any compassion. A strange kind of response for these men whom Jesus would entrust the message of God to the world. The disciples had been preparing the cities where Jesus would visit and bring the Good News. Now when they send word to a Samaritan village there is no welcoming response. What was in the heart of the disciples that they would react this way. Was it prejudice against a people who were despised by Israel? Was it indignation that Jesus was not welcomed and therefore discounted by this village? We don’t really know. Maybe Luke does not reveal the reason so that we who read the passage all these years later might examine our own hearts.
We do the same thing that the disciples did. How many relationships have we ruined through rude, harmful behavior? How many opportunities have we ruined through offensive words that we spoke? How many chances to serve God have we ruined through selfish attitudes and excuses? How many accusations flow from us as we lay blame on those we don’t like because they are not like us?
I have heard too many comments about which people group is responsible for the COVID-19 virus. There are even world leaders that have retaliated against others they feel are to blame. How would God respond to our accusations or even the bitterness that lies in our hearts as we try to lay blame. Jesus rebuked the disciples and moved on the next village.
I think of God in His creation. In six days, he formed the earth and everything in it. His creation flowed out of the beauty of his heart and what he desired to see. The Bible says, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” In one selfish, self-centered moment Adam and Eve destroyed and marred forever that creation. How did the Father respond? God shows himself to be our compassionate Father. Genesis 3 highlights the love of God in the face of sin and rebellion. God patiently sought out Adam and Eve and invited them to repent. He lovingly forgave their sins. He promised to send a Saviour who would one day come and defeat Satan and give his people the gifts of forgiveness and eternal life. He does the same thing for you and me. In Jesus, God forgives our sins and repairs what we have destroyed. In Jesus, we have eternal life!
Dear Jesus, thank you for your forgiveness. Help me to look beyond myself and offer forgiveness to others. Help me to look forward to eternal life in heaven with you. Amen.