Text: Luke 9:51-62
When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”
Where did the disciples get the idea this was the way to deal with opponents? Take a look at 1Kings 18:20-40 (Elijah’s battle with the prophets of Baal, in which he calls down fire on the offering and ultimately slaughters all the Baal prophets), 2Kings 1:9-12 (Elijah calling down fire on the king’s captain and 50 men- twice!), or 2Kings 2:23-24 (two she-bears maul 42 small boys who have been heckling the prophet Elisha).
When have you ever found yourself wanting to “command fire to come down” on someone who has disrespected, ignored, or embarrassed you? What kind of “fire” do you imagine—misfortune, illness, poetic justice? What was the injury you felt you had suffered at their hands? What does the desire to “command fire to come down” want to affirm, defend, protect? What do you make of Jesus’ rebuke of the disciples?
– Andy Kille
“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC. For details and subscription information, see About BibleWorkbench.