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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Scripture Reading: Luke 9:51–56
When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village. (NRSV)

Here we see Jesus beginning the transition from teaching in Galilee to the climax of his time on earth in Jerusalem.  It was a significant time, one that took enormous courage and determination because he knew what was waiting for him. 

When the Samaritan villagers refused to help, the disciples spoke of pretty dramatic action to clear the way. They must have been listening to Jesus’ earlier parables about the necessity and power of faith and were getting ahead of themselves—misusing their new and developing faith—thinking they could call down fire from heaven to consume the Samaritans to solve the problem.

Jesus could see their earnest intent, but misplaced choice, on how to use this power. So he spoke sternly to them so they would understand they should never use the power of their faith to harm others but instead use it for good in order to accomplish the mission he was asking them—and us—to carry forward. 

Dear Lord, I ask for the wisdom to discern how my faith can best be used to do your will and to be ever watchful that this amazing and powerful gift is never used to harm or discourage or separate me from others. Amen.

Written by Ted Davis, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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