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Luke 9:51–55 ‘When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” ’ (v54)

At the start of chapter 9, Jesus gives the disciples power and authority to drive out demons, to cure diseases and to proclaim the kingdom of God.

Things have been going very well. But when they go to a Samaritan village, things are not so smooth – the disciples are not welcomed.

James and John, nicknamed ‘sons of Thunder’, ask Jesus if He wishes them to call fire down from heaven to destroy the village!

Can you imagine your local church involved in door-to-door work, not getting a good response and returning to the church saying that the answer must be to wipe out the neighbourhood!

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It seems to be a genuine question and, such is their experience of the power of God, they seem to think that such a thing is possible!

It is perhaps no surprise that Jesus rebuked them and sent them to another village. The whole thing may seem pretty ridiculous to us, but before we are quick to judge we perhaps need to reflect on our attitude to those who seem far from God.

We can feel anger at what we perceive to be sinful behaviour on the part of others, and even if we don’t wish to call down the fire of heaven upon people, we might be quite pleased if God punished them a little!

At such times we need a reminder that God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through Him.

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God – including us – and the people who annoy us by God’s grace can know Him too.


A Prayer To Make:
‘Thank You, Lord, that Your grace extends to me and to all those who make me angry. Amen.’

An Action To Take:
When you next feel anger at sin, pray for those caught up in it.

Scripture To Consider:
Gen. 19:21–29; Num. 11:1–3; Matt. 7:1–3; Heb. 12:18–24

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.