There are some moments in the ministry of Jesus where I’d love to have a picture. This weekend’s Gospel lesson is one of those moments.
Jesus is rebuffed from entering a Samaritan village, and two of his disciples (James and John) ask Jesus if he’d like for them to call down fire from heaven to consume them.
The look on Jesus’ face right there is what I want a picture of. I can just picture Jesus turning his head slowly, and giving them a “Really?… Really?!” look.
I mean is there anything in the entire ministry of Jesus that would lead you to think that Jesus would want a bunch of people burned alive?
But, there are two of his disciples, ready to make it happen.
What we see here is the age-old desire to protect God—as if what God needs is protection from anything. James and John wanted to protect Jesus’ honor from being besmirched, but Jesus doesn’t care about that.
When have you ever felt the need to protect God from someone else?
The Samaritans are a group of Jews who didn’t get taken off to Babylon during the Babylonian captivity in the late 500’s BC. The Jews who WERE taken off to Babylon were jealous of them, and their ancestors were shunned. In Jesus’ day, Samaritans were hated and reviled. Samaritans developed their own religious rituals based on the Old Testament, and they practice those rituals to this day in modern Israel. There’s only a few hundred ethnic Samaritans left.