Luke 9:51-55 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. 54When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them, 56 and they went to another village.
This is one of the funniest passages of scripture I have come by in some time. The poor disciples must have been confused a lot, trying to figure out how to be a good follower of Jesus. They tried so hard to have faith, but it just never seemed to come out right. Just a few verses earlier, we learned that they tried to cast out a demon and couldn’t do it. Now they think they can call fire down from heaven. Slow down there, cowboy.
Why fire from heaven anyway? What gave them this crazy idea in the first place? Whatever the reason, they felt it would be a good idea to get offended on behalf of Jesus and make those Samaritans pay for it. I wish he would have said yes, actually. Maybe we would have a good narrative of how the disciples started making huge gestures and commanded fire from heaven only to have nothing happen. I can only wish. “You’re going down, Samaritans!”
Had they not figured out that this was never Jesus response to opposition? He had no need to be defended. He didn’t need them to destroy someone for his sake. But the disciples didn’t get it. Unfortunately there are many Christians who still don’t get it either. They destroy others for the sake of Christ. They pour judgement out of their mouths like fire… only it’s not from heaven. Because it’s not God’s heart. He has not asked us to defend Him; He has asked us to show His love to the world. There is a big difference, really. One brings death and the other brings life. You don’t have to try so hard to defend Jesus – just live like Him and He will do the defending on His own.