“But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them.” – Luke 9:53-55 (NLT)
What is your attitude toward people who people who reject Jesus?
When Jesus walked the earth, there were many who did not welcome Him, such as the people of the Samaritan village in today’s scripture. James and John knew Jesus, believed in Jesus, and when they saw these people’s response they were angered to the point of wanting to see them wiped off the face of the earth. Jesus didn’t seem to be bothered as much by the village that rejected Him as he was by the attitude that James and John were displaying.
As a believer in Jesus, we too will come into contact with many people who choose to reject Jesus Christ and the truth of scripture. Sometimes, that rejection can be very aggressive and vocal. While it is not easy to see people dishonor and disrespect the honor and reputation of our Lord and Savior, the Lord makes it clear here that how we respond is of utmost importance.
Striking back in word or deed is not the way of Jesus. This is not the way He dealt with the people who had Him nailed to the cross, and it is not the way He wants us thinking about those who are rejecting Him. It is appropriate to cry over them, pray for them, and love them with our words and actions, but desiring retaliation or their destruction would only eternally seal their present separation from the Lord. The Bible makes it clear concerning God’s heart about this…
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)
Are there people you hate or want to see destroyed because of their blatant opposition to the Lord or his ways? Talk to the Lord about this, and ask God to give you the attitude of Christ. Begin to pray for them, and let God open doors for you to engage with them so that they might see Christ’s love in you.