Do We Want To Call Down Fire From Heaven?

Early in their discipleship, James and John were called, “The sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17 KJV). They had a similar mindset of Jonah, in that they would rather have seen the Lord’s enemies destroyed than saved (cf. Jonah 4; Luke 9:51-56).

On the occasion documented in Luke 9:51-56, both James and John thought they had the perfect right to be angry. After all, who did these Samaritans think they were? They were no more than half-breed Jews who had mixed with heathen Assyrians. To them, they were blasphemous heretics who only accepted the Pentateuch. These were folks who worshiped at Gerizim instead of Jerusalem, and thus were unworthy of God’s grace and mercy.

But Jesus rebuked their attitude, because His mission was not to destroy men, but to "save them" (Luke 9:55-56). Thus, the zeal of James and John on this occasion was not pure. Rather, it was mixed with bitter passion, anger, pride, and self-will. They had been chosen by Jesus to preach a message of mercy, but instead, they were more than willing to be judge, jury, and executioner (cf. Romans 12:19).

As followers of Christ, perhaps we too need to examine ourselves from time to time and ask, “Am I acting more like James and John (by wanting to call fire down from heaven – Luke 9:51-54), or am I wanting to have the loving mindset of Jesus?” (Luke 9:55-56; Luke 19:1-10; cf. John 3:16-17; John 12:47).

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets