Daily Reflection – 10/1/19
When the days for Jesus to be taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village. (Luke 9: 51-56)
When James and John saw the way that Jesus was treated, they became incensed and enraged. These two sons of thunder wanted to strike They looked at Jesus, expecting Jesus to give the nod to their sanctimonious assessment and let the judgment of God upon the unjust begin. But instead of rebuking those whom the disciples thought were the enemies of Jesus, Jesus turned around and rebuked his own disciples. Jesus said to them; and Jesus is saying to us, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.”
The disciples had the right religion, but they were operating with the wrong spirit, and it is always a dangerous thing to try to read and interpret and apply the Word of God with the wrong spirit. James and John attempted to justify their intent to destroy the Samaritans by appealing to what they had found in the Bible
Jesus had to correct and to rebuke them. They attempted to make an uncritical, superficial, literal application of the Word of God without carefully and prayerfully discerning the Spirit of God. Jesus said to them, “You do not know what spirit you are of.”
Because the Word of God without the Spirit of God is dangerous and deadly.
- That is what gave religious sanction to slavery in America for almost one hundred years.
- That is what has caused women down through the decades to be regarded as mere appendages and properties of men.
- That is what has provided moral justification for those who want to slash spending for vital social services in order to provide unlimited funding for military buildup and righteous retaliation against the supposed enemies of our nation.
- That has enlisted many Christians in a crusade against Muslims.
- That gave religious sanction to the denial of civil rights of many people based upon their sexual orientation.
We do have, as the children of God, the right Word, but many times we read and interpret the right word with the wrong spirit. We have forgotten that the Bible is not our God; the Bible is our guide to God. The ultimate aim of the Bible is to guide each of us into a loving relationship with God and into loving relationships with one another.
Jesus said, “I did not come to destroy lives. I came to save lives. I did not come to destroy. I came to deliver. I did not come to take life. I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly.”
And then Jesus did an amazing thing in regard to those who had rejected him. Jesus did nothing. Jesus did nothing. But in the nothing of Jesus, there’s a whole lot of something. Because when we’re being rejected in life, it takes more strength to hold our peace than it takes to strike back in anger and in vengeance. Jesus did nothing in retaliation to those who had rejected him.
Jesus did nothing because Jesus was able to move beyond his own hurt in being rejected to deal with the hurt of those who had rejected him. People who live their lives rejecting other people are people who are deeply damaged themselves. The Samaritans rejected Jesus out of their own ignorance and fear. Ignorance and fear continue to provide the fuel that feeds prejudice and bigotry today.
You and I have rejected others and have been rejected by others for the same reasons, but before we reject anyone because of the group to which he or she may belong, why not give every person a chance to demonstrate the content of his or her character apart from the assumed identity of his or her group?
Prayer of The Day
Gracious God, as all of us face rejection in our walks with you, helps us to see in our rejection the opportunity to find creative ways to love, to serve, and to give ourselves in humility and in faithfulness, even to those who despitefully use us. This is your servant’s prayer. In the name of the Christ we pray. Amen.
James and John, wanted to curse the Samaritan village for not having being welcoming, for they were hurt by the rejection. Rejection and other forms of hurt caused by others can be difficult to let go of. It can easily sit within our hearts, acting like a mold that slowly grows and takes over. When this happens, we have a very hard time forgiving and letting go of the hurt. The best way to approach the hurt caused by another is to immediately act as our Lord did. It must be to let go of it right away and we must move on. God is the only one to issue vengeance, not us. When we fail to do this and harbor the hurt feelings, they ultimately do us more harm than anyone else.