Jesus was passing through Samaria  on His way to Jerusalem. He sent messengers ahead to prepare a place, but the villagers rejected Him.

When James and John heard about the refusal, they fumed, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” (Luke 9:54). They had just been on the Mount of Transfiguration and had seen their Lord with Moses and Elijah. No doubt they recalled the story of Elijah calling down fire from heaven (1 Kings 18:36-38). But when they asked for a consuming fire, Jesus corrected them.

He told them, “The Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them” (Luke 9:56). It is not our business to seek vengeance. God treads the winepress of His wrath alone (Isa. 63:3). Our business is to bring the good news of salvation to the world.

Paul wrote, “Do not avenge yourselves . . . for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:19-21). We must leave vengeance with God.

Jesus calls us to treat difficult people with kindness and to seek to bring them to Him.

God’s wrath and mercy are both seen in the cross of Calvary.


David H. Roper


Our Daily Bread