The teachings of Jesus are very clear about us not taking matters into our own hands. Jesus is a pacifist in the truest sense and overcomes evil with good. He does not return evil for evil. He brings a better human law than the Old Testament or any other law code.

The gospel still exceeds all human codes of conduct and governance. If you call yourself a follower of Jesus, how are you overcoming this present world?

Are you becoming more merciful toward the world or just angrier? How are you in the face of open hostility and rejection of your Lord? Do you sometimes feel like Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane wanting to swing at someone with a sword? Or do you follow the Lamb to the sacrifice?

What would Jesus have us to do when we are rejected and despised, as He was? On the road to His demise we see the disciples with an attitude that easily infects us today.

Luke 9:
51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?”55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 Then he and his disciples went to another village.

The Jews and Samaritans had a longstanding feud based on bad history between them and a difference of religious opinion. It is extremely bold of Jewish Jesus to seek hospitality from a Samaritan village. It’s as if all the reasons to despise another race or religion fell out of Jesus’ head. He is willing to go to anyone who will receive Him.

The Samaritan villagers were not open to this act of reconciliation from a Jewish leader. Bitter history, fear and ‘he hit me first’ keep many people from even thinking about hospitality to strangers. Racism and prejudice always make you guilty by association.

We see here a failure to provide basic human care. The Samaritan villagers would just as soon see these Jews vulnerable, hungry, unsheltered and alone on a dark road than to find a way to help them.

The disciples were not used to turning the other cheek or going the extra mile. They want to ask God to retaliate with fire from Heaven. How many followers of Jesus today would also ask God to rain down fire on atheists, humanists, homosexuals, Catholics, Protestants, Muslims or anyone else who might be dismissive or mock our Lord’s Name?

Hurry Peter! Pick up a sword and start swinging. Fire from Heaven on those who do not treat Jesus well!

And Jesus rebukes us…