The Greatest in the Kingdom
Key Verse: Luke 9:54b
“Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?”
Additional Reading: Luke 9:51-62
Have you ever felt like the disciples did when they came to a Samaritan village that wouldn’t receive Jesus and allow Him to minister in their village? James and John were so upset they wanted to call down fire from heaven to burn this village up!
I would bet that it hasn’t been too long ago that someone said something or did something so cruel or so obscene, that you wished God would strike them dead.
However, if you have read the Additional Reading for today, you already know Jesus’ response. He turned to them and rebuked their anti-Kingdom-of-God attitude. Jesus came to usher in a new covenant; a new way of doing life for God in this world.
I believe Jesus is sympathetic to our times of frustration with people. However, to stay in step with His Spirit, we must quickly check our attitudes and feelings with the teachings of Jesus. Jesus didn’t just tell the disciples to simply “cool it”, Jesus turned on them and rebuked them.
I fear that some believers have concluded that their frustrations and anger in some situations is justifiable. They don’t take actions against their bad attitudes toward certain people because they don’t believe they need to.
I understand that Jesus was angry at the abuse of His House of Prayer and started flipping tables, but Jesus made perfect judgements on what was worthy of anger and what wasn’t. I have not met anyone who is perfect in that kind of judgement. When you are speaking or acting in an angry or hateful way toward someone, be very careful. It maybe YOU that God will rebuke and judge harshly!
Luke 9:57-62 are hard teachings. My Bible has this title for this section: The Cost of Following Jesus.
We talk so much about the “free gift” of salvation. Some may get the idea that there is no cost to following Jesus. But Jesus makes it clear that you receive forgiveness of Jesus from Him by faith alone.
However, the journey with Him demands a lifestyle change in us all. To follow Jesus, we must put Jesus before anything or anyone else in our lives. In other words, Jesus was teaching in this section that we must conclude that He is worthy of first place in our lives. This means when someone – even family members – or something is trying to get us to say or do something that we know would not please Jesus, we must go with Jesus’ opinion.
An example would be taking money “under the table” because it saves us taxes. That is dishonest, and Jesus would rebuke you for that! Let’s truly be followers of Jesus!
Father, check my mind and heart, I want to be totally yours! In Jesus’s Name, amen.