Thursday, November 12, 2015

About that...

There is this great story in the Gospel of Luke when the disciples are traveling with Jesus to Jerusalem. It is getting dark, and Jesus sends a few of them ahead to a Samaritan village where they plan to spend the night. But it turns out the Samaritans didn't want to play host to Jesus. The Bible tells us, "the people there did not welcome him."

The disciples are angry, indignant, and self-righteous at this turn of events. They even offer to "call down fire from heaven to destroy them." The disciples feel threatened by the Samaritan's rejection, but Jesus? Not so much. In fact, Jesus is more bothered by his disciples' response to the rejection. The disciples want to rebuke the Samaritans, but Jesus rebukes his disciples.

You see, Jesus never expected the world to love and accept him. Rejection doesn't surprise him. It doesn't even offend him. It's us who take offense. And in our offense, we often sin. We miss the mark. We miss the point.

Do you get where I'm going with this? Yes, I'm talking about the stupid cups. And all of the other things over which American Christians will agonize in the coming months. In trying to make Jesus the point of the season, how very often we miss the point ourselves. 

We have got to stop acting offended or surprised when earthly powers, businesses, and governments don't welcome Jesus. Heck, he was born in a barn to show us that he was going to be an outsider from the get-go! It's not our job to make the world love him. It's our job to love a world that hates him. It's not our job to call down fire from heaven every time we think that Jesus has been forced out of the picture. It's our job to offer grace and mercy to bring Jesus back into the picture.

Think before you post, people. Ask yourself, "Am I calling down fire from heaven?" And if you are, remember how Jesus responded to his disciples when they did the exact same thing. 

 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them.
Luke 9: 54-55

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