As I was reading in Luke, chapter 9, I could not help but pay close attention to what Jesus said to His disciples in verses 55 and 56. What is spoken here is so important for us all to learn, for if we did, there would be more love for our enemies and less anger. But before I get to these verses let’s read what happened beforehand. It is written, “and it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?” (Luke 9:51-54) So we have Jesus’s disciples going out to witness about Jesus in the village of the Samaritans, but did they receive them and their invitation to see Jesus? Nope. We don’t know how they treated the disciples or if they were rude to them. However, we do know that their hearts were closed off from the message. Therefore, these men wanted to take them out, even with the fire from God. They knew that Elijah did this on Mount Carmel in 1 Kings 18, so they thought it was about time to show people God’s wrath upon the wicked. Now, did Jesus agree with them wanting to bring destruction upon this village? Absolutely not.
After Jesus was asked about bringing down the fire from heaven upon the village of Samaria, “he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.” (Luke 9:55,56) The Lord told them that them thinking this way meant that they were not filled with the Holy Spirit, but some other evil spirit. The same can be said with people now who want God to send the fire of God upon people we are witnessing to who do not receive us. There is no difference here. Just because people do not receive the message of the gospel, that does not mean that God wants to destroy them. For Jesus did not come to destroy people, but to save their lives. This is so important to remember. Just because somebody does not listen to the message we are bringing them, it does not mean that God can’t bring a different person to speak to people that will listen. It could be that they were better led by the Holy Spirit and we were not. Or it could be that we were simply used to sow the seed in their heart, while others will come and do the watering. Salvation doesn’t always come the first time the message is preached, but if a person is God’s elect, they will come around to accepting Jesus soon enough. At least this is what we pray for. God’s mercy is for everyone, no matter when they turn to follow Jesus. So remember to love people as the Lord God loves them.
Let us pray:
Oh Lord, I pray that the anger in people’s hearts will cease. That people will give all their hatred over to You, that You will mend their hearts and not allow them to be given over to this same anger again. There are walls built up because of undone anger that is in people’s hearts. People attend and are a part of riots that only cause more evil to come into the world than any good. Because of people who are filled up anger, there is contention in homes and even verbal and physical abuse, which is so wrong. And with any sort of anger that is left within us, Your will is unable to take hold of our lives, that the Spirit may come to guide us. We are left alone to fight the battles, which we cannot find victory in. Yes God, this is not the life we wish to live. So take hold of our lives and help us to learn how to love one another. We cannot do this through our own flesh, but only if You are there with us. Lead us through the Holy Spirit, God. We cannot learn to truly forgive others unless every grudge is cast out. And help us learn to say sorry when we have done wrong. It is good to stay humble and not be lifted up in our pride. So bring into our lives meekness and humility. Give us over to a mind that is willing to learn and to take the rebuke from You and others. We know that we are not perfect, and are willing to take any wise counsel that is given. Help us to know the right way to live. Even the right way to treat others. May Your love abound in us at all times and in all places. I love You, Lord. I believe in You. I give You praise and glory and honor, this day and forever. Amen.