When it came close to the time for his Ascension, he gathered up his courage and steeled himself for the journey to Jerusalem. He sent messengers on ahead. They came to a Samaritan village to make arrangements for his hospitality. But when the Samaritans learned that his destination was Jerusalem, they refused hospitality. When the disciples James and John learned of it, they said, "Master, do you want us to call a bolt of lightning down out of the sky and incinerate them?"
Jesus turned on them: "Of course not!" And they traveled on to another village.
On the road someone asked if he could go along. "I'll go with you, wherever," he said.
Jesus was curt: "Are you ready to rough it? We're not staying in the best inns, you know."
Jesus said to another, "Follow me."
He said, "Certainly, but first excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have to make arrangements for my father's funeral."
Jesus refused. "First things first. Your business is life, not death. And life is urgent: Announce God's kingdom!"
Then another said, "I'm ready to follow you, Master, but first excuse me while I get things straightened out at home."
Jesus said, "No procrastination. No backward looks. You can't put God's kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day."
Three little words that undermine much of our view of the way the world works, “Of course not.”
James and John were hot headed, but they also knew their Scriptures. They knew that when a town doesn’t practice hospitality then things don’t well for them. The image they were conjuring up was that of Sodom and Gomorrah. They were inhospitable and were destroyed. James and John saw the same problem here. Coupled with the fact that it was a Samaritan town and so it just made sense to destroy it.
Jesus replies, “Of course not.” In the NIV it’s stronger, “Jesus turned and rebuked them.”
Vengeance is not the way of Jesus.
Violence is the way of the intellectually inflexible.
Jesus simply goes to a different village. Jesus’ way is the way of the intellectually flexible.
No anger, no rage, no cursing the town. Simply a change in direction to a different village.
When things don’t go my way, how quick am I to curse? How badly do I want revenge? I have so much to learn from Jesus. It feels like an endless cycle of growth. As I look in the mirror I know my own heart and see it for what it is. I know that I too often want to take things into my own hands. I like Jonah don’t want to see “those” people get grace. Nah, I would rather God do a little smiting on my behalf.
I look around and realize that I’m in good company. Most of us are like this. There are some exceptions to be sure. But, many of us really like, “Eye for an eye” over “turn the other cheek.”
How different would the world look if when we are confronted with inhospitable people we simply moved on? There would be so much more peace. I think this has a direct relationship with our social media usage too. Instead of joining every fight in the comment section we can choose to keep scrolling. There is little point, minds don’t get changed in the trollish comment sections of social media. What if we began to see those parts of the internet in the same way Jesus did the Samaritan village? Just keep scrolling.
This was a good reminder for me at the beginning of the week, how about you?