Text: Luke 9:51-62
Whirl-fire (Photo credit: Loving Earth)
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.
Posted in Between the Lines, Lectionary Year C, Sundays after Pentecost
Tagged 1 Kings, 2 Kings, Andy Kille, Baal, condemnation, disciples, Elijah, Elisha, fire, Gospel of Luke, Jesus
Text: II Samuel 11:1-15
Rembrandt – David and Uriah (detail) – WGA19125 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Today’s reading includes only the first part of the story. The consequences of David’s actions are described when the prophet Nathan confronts David (2 Samuel 12:1-18). He tells him a story about a rich man who robs a poor man of his “one little ewe.” When David says the culprit should die, Nathan springs his trap:
Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I anointed you king over Israel, and I rescued you from the hand of Saul; I gave you your master’s house, and your master’s wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added as much more. Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? Continue reading
Text: 2 Kings 5:1-14 
Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife.She said to her mistress, “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”
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What might be the relationship between the Israelite slave girl and Naaman that she is concerned with his healing? Is it mere altruism or compassion on the girl’s part? Pity? Pride in her heritage? Might she benefit from his healing in some way? Have hopes for release from her bondage? Is she simply being naïve—identifying with her oppressor? Continue reading