For the proclamation of the Gospel and the edification of the Body of Christ
Cleansing Ourselves From the Spirit of Violence
The message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is one of salvation, love, and peace. From the mouth of the Lord came words that transformed the way life and eternity are seen. However, the spirit of man is home to hatred and violence; therefore, it does not easily understand another language. The Lord Jesus had to fight against this spirit in the hearts of his own disciples reiterating his teaching and waiting until they learned it.
Two of his disciples were particularly violent, John and James. Not for nothing the Lord called them Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder. The tune that they normally heard from them was of resentment and violence, not consistent with the spirit of their master. However, the Lord did not dismiss them for this reason. On the other hand, he chose them perhaps, in part, to demonstrate how He can transform that type of man.
The highlight of this learning process was when they went up to Jerusalem, before the last Passover. The Lord was to be betrayed soon. He knew what awaited him; the cross was in front of him, and his broken spirit was about to surrender to it. But the same did not happen with his disciples. They were willing to defend their master - even though they ignored that in such a battle, they did not have the weapons to win.
This time their heart’s violence was seen when a Samaritan village refused to accept them. The disciples had been sent by the Lord to that village to make arrangements for him, but the villagers did not receive them because He was traveling towards Jerusalem (Luke 9:53). The reason is somewhat strange to us, but it has to do with the ancestral hatred that existed between Jews and Samaritans. When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?". Here we have the Sons of Thunder; their model, the inspirer of their words was not the Lord Jesus, but Elijah, the austere Prophet of Israel.
Just as Elijah had done with the Ahaziah’s soldiers, they wanted to do with the Samaritans of that village. The Lord then reproves them: “You do not know of what spirit you are”. Whose disciples were they, Jesus or Elijah’s? What side of history were they on, in the old or the new Covenant? What spirit moved in them, that of Sinai or that of Golgotha? Were they which lions, or which lambs?
The Lord adds: "Because the son of man has not come to lose the souls of men, but to save them. And they went to another village". The principle underlying this refusal by the Lord is this: save, not to lose. It is always that: salvation, not condemnation. They would have to know in their hearts what would be the North of their lives, the inspiration of their words.
What shall we do with those who look down on us? Excommunicate them? Condemn them? Let down the punishment from hell on them? No, but we should look for their good, save them. Moreover, it is in the contempt that we receive from others where humility and gentleness are tested.