When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem; and He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went and entered a village of the Samaritans to make arrangements for Him. But they did not receive Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem. When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, 'Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?' But He turned and rebuked them, and said, 'You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them.' And they went on to another village.
Among God's Old Testament heroes, we witness some fiery encounters--where the Lord's enemies are consumed. While we may be shocked by the cruel suggestion from the Sons of Thunder to raze a Samaritan village,* such passion had godly precedents.**
Surely, Christians in America wouldn't consider such drastic moves. But we still have fiery encounters with various kinds of believers: people who worship differently, which was the Samaritan issue. Because they treasured their temple on Jacob's mountain, perhaps too much.
Meanwhile, the Jews loved Jerusalem. They thought their practices were truer to God's Word; in some ways, they were right. At the same time, their pride became great, and they despised their distant cousins. But Jesus came to unite all men through truth, love, mercy and sacrifice.
Actors, models and talent for Christ, a new time of unity is here. Denominational arrogance has no place in the Lord's family. Scathing condemnations from Christians about the faith of other Christians (with differing doctrines or customs) deny the Commandments of Jesus.
Consider His concluding Prayer: 'Holy Father, keep them in Your Name, the Name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me' (John 17:11,23).***
To my evangelical brethren, don't snub anyone who loves Jesus--even if some of the things they do don't match up with key parts of Scripture. Like the Jews back in the days of Christ, you may better understand God's Word. Even so, offer love and kindness.
Leave the judging to the perfect Judge. Show the world our unity in Christ.
To Be Continued
* See Barnes Notes on the Bible regarding Luke 9:53, which briefly explains the hostility and division between the God-loving rivals (Jews & Samaritans), and how it relates to Christians today: http://biblehub.com/commentaries/luke/9-53.htm
** Elijah and the Lord's Judgment on Ahaziah: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/search=2%20Kings%201&version=NIV
** Short article, Acts 242 Study: Call Down Fire from Heaven; http://acts242study.com/call-down-fire-from-heaven/
*** The concluding Prayer of Jesus, recorded only in the Gospel of John: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%2017&version=NASB
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Bad Ideas series.