I wasn’t planning on blogging until tomorrow, but when I read this passage just now, it weighed so heavily on me that I had to sit and get this out of me immediately. I realize this may rub you the wrong way and you may disagree, but give it a shot.

Let’s read it first, then I’ll comment.

Luke 9
51 Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, 52 and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”

55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village.

Wow. Maybe you’ve already been all over this, but I’ve never noticed it before. Or at least the Spirit hasn’t revealed it to me in this way until now.

If you know the background, Jews and Samaritans hated each other. Gas and fire, oil and water, corn mixed in with mashed potatoes… it doesn’t work.

The Samaritans completely reject The Lord as He draws near, which was expected. His croonies are ready to blow the place up in a display of power and retaliation. How dare those Samaritans! If they weren’t for joining the Jesus parade, they didn’t deserve to live.

But, their “manner of spirit” as Jesus points out, is all backwards. Then, in typical Jesus fashion, He flips the situation upside down. Instead of anger, instead of fire and brimstone, instead of picketing, yelling and spewing hate… He recommends grace.

Lemme just get right to what hit me this morning. How do we, as Christians, treat those who don’t think how we do? How do we react to those who push back against OUR lifestyle?

How do we react to the Muslim family in the airport? The homosexual couple in the store? The guy driving the car with the Darwin fish eating the Jesus fish? How do we react to the girl who just had an abortion or the ones who call us “weak” because “we need religion as a crutch”?

I’m not telling you to agree and accept everything as good and okay, but have you ever thought that maybe instead of “commanding fire to come down from heaven and consume them”, that Jesus prefers a different approach? An approach that can mix differences and grace together in only a way Jesus could do?

The next time you are about to react to some opposition to what we believe, please, put yourself in the above scenario. Imagine Jesus is walking in front of YOU and YOU are the one asking if you should call down a consuming fire.

You may be surprised when Jesus asks you to put down the verbal matches and extinguish our own thoughts.