Scripture: “And He called the twelve together…and sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal…And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.
And He sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. But the people did not receive (Jesus) because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 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?” But (Jesus) turned and rebuked them.” Excerpts from Luke 9:1-6 and 52-55
Observation: I can get so full of myself just like the Disciples. Jesus gives me an assignment and, given enough time, I can twist it all sorts of ways, just like “Preach the Kingdom of God” to wanting to imitate Elijah. Is it about the words from that morality play, “South Park?” “Respect my authority?”
Analysis: There are times where I think these records by the Holy Spirit are used for multiple reasons, some no less than to show us the absurdity of the Disciples. Why, if it weren’t the fact that there were Twelve of them, I could think I am looking at a Three Stooges skit.
It seems to have started innocently enough.
Jesus gathered the twelve together. He said, “Look guys, I have taught you what the Kingdom of God consists of. I have taught others about the Kingdom of God in your hearing. I am modeling what the Kingdom of God looks like for Man. Now I am sending you out on assignment, to proclaim, talk, preach, hang out, model the Kingdom of God in our surrounding areas. Heal folks. Come back in a few weeks and tell me all about it. Take off.”
So, they did. And they returned. And man, did they have stories to tell. One might have thought they learned something more along the way. Whoops, that would be a stretch in assumption.
Later, Jesus and the band, intending to go to Jerusalem, would pass through a village of the Samaritans. Wanting to stay for a time, they were refused by the Samaritans. So, James and John, full of good cheer and enthused from their “missionary trip” came to Jesus and said, perhaps with a straight face, “Why, Lord, that is sooo rude of them. How about, what do you think about us calling…I dunno…fire from heaven? That’s a biblical response, right? We’re on scriptural solid ground with that?”
What sort of rebuke (not correction, rebuke) did Jesus give them? Maybe scathing? Disappointed?
I have been (and am) just like these guys. A little bit of opposition and I am imagining the priests of Baal in front of me, and I am empowered to call fire from heaven and execute justice. Pretty presumptuous of me, for sure.
When I am instructed to preach the Kingdom of God/the Gospel (close relations to each other and sometimes interchangeable), I should know more than the punch lines, which includes the opposition responses, what they mean, how they occur, and what to do about them. Take election for instance. A foundational precept is that: we preach; God draws and saves. It is not like I am called to the plate to pinch hit and I am expected by the Holy Spirit to hit a home run. No, I am expected to try and hit the ball, period. God handles everything else.
Be satisfied in speaking and living the Gospel in holiness, my friends. Results are all His.
Prayer: Lord, so much more to say in this chapter. All sorts of stuff to home in upon. This is what caught my eye this morning. Lord, while I am confident that calling fire from heaven is going to be appropriate one day, it is not today nor anytime soon. Allow me to learn and emulate the Gospel of the Kingdom, that Gospel of Peace between God and Man. AMEN.