MORE BAD ATTITUDES
Lord, teach me to control my attitude.
Read LUKE 9:51–56
51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them[a]?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 Then he and his disciples went to another village.
a Luke 9:54 Some manuscripts them, just as Elijah did
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you” (Jas. 4:7,8).
The fulﬁllment of Jesus’ life and mission is drawing near. He is on his way to Jerusalem, where he will die, and he knows this. Luke tells us even more: the time is coming when he will be “taken up to heaven” (51). We are to imagine that Jesus is set and resolute and that the foreboding of the coming anguish shows on his face. Perhaps this is why the Samaritan villagers (Jesus has probably traveled down the east side of the Jordan valley) do not welcome him. They may sense that something dreadful is about to happen.
It is well-known that Jews and Samaritans do not get along (John 4:9) although there are ethnic ties between them. Jesus appears not to have shared this general prejudice and soon the Gospel in the early church would spread into Samaritan territory (Acts 8:4–8). Yet in today’s story they want nothing to do with him, thus incurring the ire of James and John, the “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17). They are all for re-enacting Sodom and Gomorrah, or Elijah (Gen. 19; 1 Kings 18). It is good to be passionate about the Lord’s honor, but violence done in his name does promote it. They earn Jesus’ rebuke—and another village welcomes him.
Clearly, James and John have an attitude problem, and they can’t control displaying it. We should be concerned when similar attitudes are displayed in the contemporary church. When Christ is insulted (and it happens often), the temptation is strong to unleash the dogs of war and respond to insult with insult. Jesus knows this and for that reason he has been teaching his disciples the discipline of absorbing insults and returning good for evil (Matt. 5:38–48). Anything else simply recycles bad attitudes and does nothing to overcome them. The ability to respond to evil with good is close to the heart of what being truly Christian is about.
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21).
Lord, teach me the value of seeing others as You see them and ministering to them accordingly.
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