Fire from heaven

“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” (Luke 9:51-55)

They’d not only seen Jesus do miracles, they’d done them in His name as well. immediately prior to this journey toward Jerusalem, James and John had witnessed the transfiguration. They’d been living as citizens of the kingdom of heaven.

But they held two passports, dual citizenship. As these Jewish men passed into Samaritan territory, the habits and prejudices they carried deep in their own DNA surfaced in a flash, triggered by the Samaritans’ deep-seated prejudice against them. The offense sparked a militant response from James and John, Jewish citizens, and they grabbed for the big guns from the armory of their other kingdom.

Which showed, perhaps, that they didn’t truly understand the power of that other kingdom at all.

Jesus demonstrated the way His kingdom’s weapons are meant to be used. “…Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went to another village.” (Luke 9:55-56)

That’s it. They left without a fight. The village remained a no-smoking zone. In fact, the only lit match may have been found in the rebuke Jesus gave His followers – He corrected them with the kind of fire meant to purify motives and quench impulsive response. The walk to the next village was a prophetic review: Turn the other cheek. Go another mile.

Walk on, friends.

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