Yesterday morning I was reading Luke 9:57-62, where several people tell Jesus, "I will follow you, but..." Jesus famously responds to onslaught of halfhearted declarations by telling us, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God." OUCH. As I spent a few minutes thinking and praying on Oswald Chambers thoughts on these verses (My Utmost for His Highest) I decided to grab some context. I went back up and read the verses right before these. I found an interesting and powerful story. Check it out:
"As the time drew near for His return to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for His arrival. But they were turned away. The people of the village refused to have anything to do with Jesus because He had resolved to go to Jerusalem. When James and John heard about it, they said to Jesus, 'Lord, should we order down fire from heaven to burn them up?' But Jesus turned and rebuked them. So they went on to another village."
While I think there are easily 5 things to learn (and 3-4 separate sermons) sitting in this one story, there is one thing that captures my attention here. It's not the rejection of the Samaritans - that would have been expected. It's also not Jesus' rebuke of James and John for wanting to exact divine justice on His behalf. What really hit me between the eyes is the audacious faith of these 2 young brothers. Somewhat like Peter, J & J have often gotten a bad rap. In fact, just before this story is the account of their request to get the "best seats" next to Jesus in the Kingdom. But again - audacious!
James and John - without so much as a second thought of the power at their disposal because of their closeness to Jesus - asked, "Do you want us to call down fire from heaven, Lord?" Are you grasping this? "Hey, Jesus! If you want us to, me and James can wipe that place out like Sodom! What do you think?"
Of course we know what Jesus thought - he thought, "Fellas. We're not going to burn up or wipe out everyone who refuses us in for dinner!" He rebuked them. He had already taught, "You've heard it said, 'Don't commit murder'. I tell you, don't even allow anger to brew in your heart toward another." He HAD to rebuke them. At the same time, I want that kind of faith! I want to know that the same heartbeat lives within me. I want to know that I can move mountains, ask the sun to stand still, or - if it all came down to that - that I can call fire down from heaven! I want to believe!
What about you?