When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, ‘Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?’” vs. 54Luke 9:51-55
When the Samaritan villagers refused to receive Jesus as he made his way to Jerusalem, James and John were filled with indignation. They wanted to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them–they wanted to kill them all.
Jesus of course rebuked them and simply went on to the next village. But the idea broached by James and John did not die. Centuries later, once Christianity and the Empire joined forces, so-called disciples of Jesus burned thousands of people for bucking the system and holding contrary views. The desire for vengeance and violence, though rebuked by Jesus, developed into the fallback position of countless people of faith. Even now, Christians battle Christians in the Ukraine–political candidates claim God and guns as major planks in their campaign platforms. Good people are trolled and demonized on social media. The whole idea of praying for one’s enemies is dismissed as being quaint and out-of-date. But not all followers of Jesus feel that way. Many are looking for ways to put aside those feelings of righteous indignation and revenge, and some have discovered that the Way of peace and forgiveness walked by Jesus brings amazing joy. The Peaceable Kingdom does exist, and its gates are wide open for all who want to enter.
Thought for the Day: How do I deal with thoughts of vengeance?