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No Fire and Brimstone!

This morning PAYG had a very short reading from Luke 9: 51 - 56

As the time drew near when Jesus would be taken up to heaven, he made up his mind and set out on his way to Jerusalem.
He sent messengers ahead of him, who went into a village in Samaria to get everything ready for him.
But the people there would not receive him, because it was clear that he was on his way to Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this, they said, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?"
Jesus turned and rebuked them.
Then Jesus and his disciples went on to another village.

Lots I could play with here, if I so wished, especially some of the translation choices from Greek.

What strikes me, though, is the contrast between the reactions of James and John to the perceived inhospitality of the Samaritans and that of Jesus.

The disicples' logic seems to run thus:

We tried to arrange for you to stay there, they reject you, you should smite them

The Samaritan's logic seems to be

Jesus is not interested in us, why should we welcome him?

Jesus' loigc seems to be

Don't you tell me who to smite!


I guess the decision to stay in a Samaritan village was pragmatic - a convenient journey length - rather than anything more calculated.  It does make me ponder who it is I deny hospitality to because they are 'passing through' and assume they aren't interested in me/what I have to say.  It also makes me ponder who it is we might wish God would smite (or assume God will smite) because they don't do as we want/say.

And because I'm mischievous, was it 'human messengers' or 'angels' Jesus sent ahead of him to the village?  Check the Greek, check the interpretive decisions and ponder how that affects the hermeneutics you apply!

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