Lessons Of A Lifetime

SUNDAY JAN. 24, 2021

Scripture To Consider:
“Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Jesus to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him.”

“But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. And 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, just as Elijah did?’”

“But Jesus turned and rebuked them, and said, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.’ And they went to another village.” Luke 9.51-56

Something To Consider:
Jesus was nearing the end of two years of ministry. He had become aware that His hour was approaching, and therefore, He set His face to go to Jerusalem. As mentioned earlier, most Jewish travelers would go around Samaria when journeying from Galilee to Jerusalem. There was much animosity between these two groups of people, but Jesus continued to reach out to His so-called enemies.

And in so doing, Jesus teaches us to extend our hand of friendship and fellowship, even to our enemies who would persecute us and say all manner of evil against us. So, how is that going for us? According to Paul, writing in Ephesians 4.31; “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.”

John, a one-time son of thunder transformed by the love of God, asked a most revealing question in 1 John 4.20. “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?”

Something Else To Consider:
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declared, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God,” unlike James and John in our text today. In Mark’s version of the appointing of the twelve disciples, we read, “James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom Jesus gave the name Boanerges, that is, ‘Sons of Thunder.’”

It appeared that Jesus saw something in James and John early on that caused Him to rightly name these brothers, Sons of Thunder. For as the Samaritans rejected Jesus and His ministry, these two brothers requested permission to wipe them out by commanding a lightning strike from heaven to burn them up.

We too, are either sons and daughters of thunder if we have not been truly transformed by the love of God in and through Christ Jesus, or we are truly sons and daughters of the living God. We are one or the other. But we cannot be both! Hatred has no place in the lives of true Christians according to the Word of God.

Again, according to this same John later in 1 John 3.15; “Whoever hates his brother [or sister] is a murderer [spiritually according to both John and Jesus], and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him [or in her].” Again, I must ask how are we doing so far with the commandments of God?

Something More To Consider:
Of course Jesus rebuked James and John in our text by saying; “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.” They were of a self-righteous condemning spirit, to the point of their contemplating the murder of those who rejected Jesus. Their attitude was no different than that of the scribes and Pharisees who sought to kill Jesus on several occasions.

Then Jesus repeated John 3.17 with a slight modification, “For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” Therefore, we are left with one question to answer for ourselves. Of what spirit are we? Are we of a self-righteous spirit? Are we of an angry bitter spirit, or of an envious spirit? Or are we allowing the Holy Spirit to transform us like James and John, the one-time sons of thunder, who eventually became disciples of love.

For some of us it is an overnight transformation. For others of us it has been a long time coming with more testing and training to follow. But it is a spiritual process that we must yield to so as to be removed from the list of murderers and enter into eternal life, according to the Word of God.

A Few Final Words:
Jesus admonished all who have been transformed from sons and daughters of thunder to recipients of God’s love, by proclaiming in Luke 6.35; But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons [and daughters] of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore, be merciful, just as Your Father is also merciful.”

So, which will it be for us of this possible end time generation with all of its coming evil persecution and hatred? Will our response to the widespread bitter hatred and ungodly oppositional persecution, that has begun and grossly increased in many regions around the globe, will our response reveal us to be sons and daughters of the Most High God? Or will we continue to exemplify the unrighteous reactions of the sons and daughters of thunder?

As believers in Jesus, the Holy Spirit is in the business of transforming our attitudes and actions on a continuous basis to make us more like Jesus and less like sons and daughters of thunder. Will we receive the saving grace of God into our lives or reject that same grace as did the Samaritans? For according to Jesus, “For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”

Our Father in heaven, we are in need of Your transformation power. May You use the rest of our lives as Your proving ground in changing us into true sons and daughter of the living God. In Him Always, Amen!

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