When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. Luke 9:54 & 55
Earlier, Jesus told his followers that they should just shake the dust off their shoes when they’re rejected by a village and move on. James and John, the Sons of Thunder, didn’t do that here. They couldn’t put this past them. They wanted fire to come down from heaven. These people needed to pay for mistreating the Sons of Thunder.
I must admit, I see myself in the Sons of Thunder quite a bit.
And I don’t like it.
I understand the hatred they felt. I know what it’s like to wish that a people could be wiped out and that God would send them to the fieriest fires of hell. I’m ashamed that I thought it. I’m ashamed that I prayed for it. But that’s how I felt the day the towers fell in New York City and the news showed rejoicing in the streets in other parts of the world. They were dancing and our world was on fire. I wanted God to send down fire from heaven upon them and burn them up. I hated them.
I know that’s not how I’m supposed to react as a follower of Jesus. My default is supposed to be love and grace, not hatred and revenge. But there I was, wishing fire would come down from heaven.
And I believe Jesus had the same response to me as he did to the Sons of Thunder that day. Rebuke.
I thought I had grown. I thought I had matured. And I’m sure I have. A little. But not nearly as much as I’d like. When the news began to break that bin Laden had been killed, I had a pretty good idea of what my reaction should be. I should be saddened that another person died without knowing Jesus. I should be heartbroken at the amount of death and destruction that this man had caused. And I was. To a point.
But I must admit, I also had the hairs on the back of my neck standing up.
Yes, I can see much of myself in the personality of the Sons of Thunder. I can also hear Jesus telling me to put down that bitterness, hatred, and desire for revenge and follow him.