And [Jesus] sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him. But the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. Then he and his disciples went to another village.
Jesus Is Zealously Patient
Believe it or not, Jesus has not always been welcomed with open arms.
This man from Bethlehem is God from all eternity. By his powerful Word he created all things and gives life to all things, including us (John 1:1-4). Then he assumed our broken humanity— “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14)—in order to win forgiveness and eternal rescue from death for everyone. What’s not to like?
But by nature, we all reject Jesus—lock, stock, and barrel. Yes, we turn our backs on our only Creator and Savior. “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, and his own did not receive him” (John 1:10,11).
You might think our refusal of Jesus’ amazing gifts and unparalleled love would leave him hopping mad. Jesus would have every right and reason to seek revenge for our rebellious response and leave us in the dust forever. That’s what his disciples, James and John, suggested he do to the Samaritans when they refused to open their hearts and homes to him as the Savior journeyed to Jerusalem to sacrifice himself on a cross for the world’s sins. “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” they asked.
But Jesus didn’t seek revenge, instead he zealously pursued patience. Rather than striking these people with lightning, he rebuked his disciples and urged them to have patient and merciful hearts toward sinners. The same kind of patience and mercy that he had so often shown to James and John. Yes, the same patience he shows to you and me.
Dear Jesus, help me to be loving and patient toward others, just as you are forever patient with me. Amen.