Scripture: Ezra 4, Psalm 113, 127, Luke 9
Luke 9:54-55 When the disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to destroy them?” Jesus turned and rebuked them. “You don’t know what kind of a Spirit you belong to; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy human lives, but to save them.”
I get James and John.
I can’t count how many times I’ve wanted to just nuke someone. Give them what they deserve. Let ‘em have it!
Jesus and His men are on their way to Jerusalem. A couple of them go into a Samaritan village to find lodging and food for the night, but are turned away because they were Jews on their way to Jerusalem for the Passover (there was bad blood between the Jews and Samaritans). James and John are incensed at the insult and poor treatment. “Let’s call down fire from heaven and toast the whole village!” They thought they had righteous indignation.
Jesus rebukes them, and says two things.
First, you don’t know what kind of Spirit you belong to. The Holy Spirit—the Spirit of God—is not like that, not vindictive and destructive. When I’m like that, I’m obviously not filled or led by the Spirit of God. That’s just me.
Second, the Son of Man didn’t come to destroy human lives, but to save them. I love this! Jesus came to save us and give us abundant life, not to judge and destroy us. His purpose is to save, not destroy.
John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
This is the heart of God: to save us, not destroy us.
Whenever we are filled with angry, vindictive feelings toward another, that is not the Spirit of Jesus. My “righteous indignation” that wants to harm others is not righteous at all.
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for all the times I’ve wished harm on others, or hoped they would get what they deserve. Thank you that You don’t give me what I deserve, but want to give me life, and not destroy me!