Before I launch into today’s post, question: How many of you are enjoying my following chronologically through the New Testament? Were you aware that’s what I’ve been doing? (For example, today’s post covers the reading passage for day one of week 31.) I ask because this has been super challenging, y’all! If you’re enjoying this journey and find it helpful, then I’ll keep pushing on. But if you’re not … I might reconsider my content plans. 🙂 Let me know in the comments.
And now back to your regularly schedule post …
When my actions and reactions don’t resemble the love and grace of Christ, I know I’ve left my Savior behind. This happens every time I allow my fear and pride, rather than Christ, take the lead. Soon, I develop an us-vs-them mentality. As people become issues, love, that which Christ told us to radiate most clearly, begins to grow cold.
Praying through Luke 9 this past week, I sensed God calling me to evaluate my pride-filled Pharisitical tendencies within me. Those times when I serve from a place of superiority, and reveal this in the ugliness that follows. When that sense of superiority entices me to fight for a mound of dirt that isn’t worth my, or your, or anyone else’s time, ignoring the hill–Calvary–our Savior fixed His gaze upon.
Luke 9:51 records some of the most beautiful words in Scripture: “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem” (NIV).
Knowing all He’d face there, maybe even feeling some of the anguish that would later consume His soul “to the point of death” in the Garden, He set walked with determined steps.
And once again, He and His disciples stopped through Samaria along the way. Only this time, they didn’t receive the same welcome. In fact, they were rejected, as they had numerous times before.
Only this time, James and John didn’t become grieved, as one might expect, considering all the Samaritans were forfeiting. They weren’t even annoyed, as can occur with road weary travelers.
No. They became enraged. Murderously, so. “Lord,” they said, upon seeing how the Samaritans rejected Christ, “do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?”
Am I the only one struck by the sad contrast? The One with every right to obliterate not just the people in that village, but all of mankind as well, was determined to reach Jerusalem, no matter how difficult each step must’ve been.
The hill upon which His love would be vividly displayed–for those who received and rejected Him. The disciples didn’t understand that. I suspect they were blinded by pride, thinking they, the chosen ones, had lowered themselves simply to enter that village. Their sense of superiority tainted any love they might otherwise have displayed.
Sadly, pride likely lay at the root of the Samaritan’s actions as well. Scholars remind us they welcomed Christ readily enough when He came “from some unknown region of Judæa where He had been baptising (John 3:22; John 4:3).” Knowing He was heading toward Jerusalem, the place the Jews had long contended as the only proper place to worship, however? And not to the temple they’d built on Mount Gerizzim? Implying that, perhaps, they were wrong?
How sad to think their indignation blinded them to the truth Christ had so beautifully proclaimed to the Samaritan woman He’d met at Jacob’s well, early in His ministry. He didn’t come to tell us where to worship but rather Who to worship.
How grieved Jesus must’ve been that day, to see putrid reservoirs of pride well up within hearts on both sides, where streams of living water should’ve begun to flow.
While I’ve never asked God to obliterate an entire town, I’ve seen my pride repel the very people God died to save.
Lord, remind us, daily, of our need for You, precisely why we need You so desperately, so that our hearts won’t decay from the sin of superiority. Fill us so fully with Your love, only what is good and lovely and pure can remain.
For those following the chronological New Testament reading plan …