Bible Reading: Luke 9:37-62
We may be able to blame other people for their bad behavior…but we cannot blame them for our bad behavior. Our behavior is under our control and it should always be in keeping with the character and ministry of Jesus.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
Okay, so I’m watching a football game. All of a sudden, at the end of a play, a guy comes running in late after the running back is already tackled, and pushes a player on the other team. The other player then turns around and pushes him back. The referee throws a flag. Guess who got the penalty. Not the first guy who pushed…but the second guy. The second player says, “Hey, wait a minute. He pushed me first!” The ref says, “Didn’t see that. Just saw you push him.”
Two brothers are wrestling with each other. At first, it’s just playful rough housing. But then, one gets carried away and really knocks the other one down. The brother jumps up off the floor and whacks the other brother in the shoulder. Just about that time, Mom walks around the corner, “That’s enough. What do you think you’re doing?” “He hit me, first!”
A lady at work has had enough. Another lady that she works with is always critical of everyone else. Finally, the first lady tells her exactly what she thinks of her. It’s not a very pretty picture. The second lady storms off. The first lady says, “She makes me so angry!”
Ever been there? Has someone done something and it made you angry? Maybe you said something back. Maybe you did something. Maybe you didn’t say, or do, anything…but there was steam coming out of your ears.
Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Jerusalem for the Passover. Along the way, they came to a Samaritan village. The Samaritans were Jewish people who had married Gentile people. It all started a little over 500 years before, when Israel was conquered by Babylon. Almost all of the Jewish people were taken away to Babylon as captives. The only Jewish people left were the poor, the sickly, and the elderly. Then, Babylon brought people from other countries (and religions) that they had conquered to Israel. They did this to keep the people from rallying together and fighting against them. They also stopped calling the land Israel and started calling it Samaria…and the people were called Samaritans. After a while, since they all lived in the same place, they began to marry each other…Jews marrying Gentiles. Then, years later, Babylon was conquered by Persia, and many of the Jewish people who had been taken away were allowed to return to the land. When they got back, they had no respect for the Jews who had married the Gentiles. They saw them as traitors to their nation and to their God. As time passed, things only got worse…the Jews worshipped in their Temple at Mt. Zion in Jerusalem and the Samaritans worshipped in their Temple at Mount Gerizim. Both groups claimed that their Temple was the right Temple. So, when Jesus showed up, heading for Jerusalem to worship…He was not welcomed in the Samaritan village. This really ticked off the disciples. Their pride was hurt. They saw Jesus as the true Messiah…and now, these Samaritans, these traitors, did not ever respect Him enough to give them some food! Two of the disciples, James and John, were brothers. Jesus gave them the nickname, “Boanerges”…which means, “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17)…probably because they were loud and boisterous (like thunder), and often shot off at the mouth without thinking. When I picture them I see them riding on camels with lightning bolts painted on their saddles. They were the bikers (motorcycle gangs) of their day…”Sons of Thunder!” That is exactly what happened on this day. They asked Jesus, “Lord, do you see how they are treating us, we mean You? Should we call down fire from Heaven to burn them into ashes!” Jesus replied, “You guys need to check your attitudes. Have you forgotten why I came? I didn’t come to burn men for their sin…but, to turn men from their sin. I didn’t come to destroy them…but to save them.”
Sometimes we forget why Jesus came. Someone does something to us…and we become angry. We’d like to say, “they made me angry”. But that’s not so. They don’t control our emotions, our anger…we do. They may do something…but only we can decide how we are going to respond. And evidently, Jesus was saying that our response should always be in keeping with His mission and purpose…even when people do something unpleasant to us. Always remember that we are His representatives on earth. Our response should be to do what He would do…not what we would do. And guess what, that not only includes other people…but, it also includes brothers and sisters.
Love you more than bunches and bunches,