Sunday, January 12, 2014

Luke 9:54-56

"And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.
For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village."
Luke 9:54-56

Jesus and his disciples went to a Samaritan village that wouldn't receive him.  I'm really not sure if that means that they wouldn't listen to his message, or that they wouldn't let him stay there on his way to Jerusalem, but either way, the disciples were offended enough that they suggested a very dramatic response.  Perhaps the disciples were eager to see the destructive power of God, having seen his healing power already, but Christ corrected them, telling them that his mortal ministry wasn't about destruction, but about saving.  And then, instead of cursing or harming the people who had rejected him, they went to another village.
I'm thinking that these verses can also apply to us.  Maybe we don't have the power or faith to call fire out of heaven to turn our enemies to ash... but sometimes we want to.  We feel hurt or betrayed or abandoned, and we wish that we could show them or pay them back or something else that feels like revenge or satisfying in a destructive way.  And we feel like they deserve it, for  harming us or other people around us.  But Christ sets the example for us in this as well.  Christ wasn't sent to destroy.  He was sent to save.  And, in emulating him and being his disciples, we are also sent to save, and never to harm.  Sometimes that means that we have to let things go... things that we don't want to let go.  Things that we want someone to suffer for.  But that isn't why we are here... and God will take care of the justice in time.  The great thing is that even when we ourselves deserve some swift justice, God gives us the space to repent and change.
Sometimes we also need to go to another village.  Trying to stay in that place where the people didn't want him wasn't a good move for Christ... so he left, and he found someplace better.  And the same goes for us.  The answer is never to destroy, but staying isn't required either.  We don't need to sit still in any situation and allow ourselves or others to continue to be harmed.  (And of course God not calling fire down from heaven doesn't mean that we can justify harming anyone else either.)
I believe that focusing on saving others rather than harming them will help to save us all.  We can becomes people who heal where we have hurt, and who lift and help even people who have harmed themselves.  And, as disciples of Christ, that is what God asks of us.  Today, let's save.  Let's heal.  Let's pick up and start over if we need to... go to another village, get away from the pain, or from our past self, or whatever we need some distance from.  Let's remember never to harm or destroy, but to love, serve, and lift.  To become the people that we want to be, to change everything with God's help.

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