Today’s Scripture: Luke 9:51-53; 2 Kings 17:24-34
Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Jerusalem. Jews headed to a Jewish city. But, He sent messengers go ahead of them into a (non-Jewish) Samaritan village to prepare for His arrival—possibly to find a place to eat and sleep. When the Samaritans heard His destination was Jerusalem, they refused to allow Him to shortcut through their village. A little extreme, don’t you think?
If we look at the history of the Jew vs. Samaritan fiasco, we might gain a little more understanding. We can trace the Samaritan race all the way back to 2 Kings 17:24 where we read how the king of Assyria moved people from other regions into Samaria, the former capital of the northern kingdom of Israel. Although the Assyrian king assigned a Jewish priest to teach this new population about what the God of the Jews required, each national group made their own gods in their own towns. They created a hodgepodge of worship that combined Jewish customs with their traditional worship of foreign idols.
The Israelites considered this an affront because their sacred rituals had become tainted. From that point on, the Jews looked at the Samaritans as “half-breeds” and “dogs.” The split was so severe Jewish people actually debated whether or not it was kosher for them to eat an egg laid by a Samaritan hen.
So, when the Samaritan village refused to allow Jesus the Messiah to travel through on His way to Jerusalem, James and John came unglued. “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” Repaying evil for evil was not the way to go, and Jesus rebuked them for it. I have a hunch He wasn’t just rebuking them for wanting to take immediate revenge. His rebuke probably pointed at their prejudiced hearts.
At times, something hits a raw nerve, causing the true contents of our heart spills out. Hidden prejudices can create an angry reaction before we even realize what’s happening. It might be a good idea to ask the Lord to search our hearts so when our emotions are jostled, we’re not embarrassed by what is exposed.
- What biases or prejudices do you carry that you need to release?
- What sets you off to respond in the wrong way?