Jesus rebuked the sons of Zebedee for wanting to call fire down from heaven on a village of Samaritans (Luke 9:51-56). His point was that they didn’t take note of the spirit that was animating them. Of course, James and John were merely trying to reenact the experience of Elijah (2 Kings 1:9-16) in which he called down fire from heaven to consume two companies of fifty soldiers each before the commander of the third company pleaded for mercy.
This experience shows the potential peril of “doing what the Bible says.” God’s not looking for us to imitate the outward form of actions we see in the Bible as much as He wants us to adopt the inward motivations of righteous thinking. Jesus wanted the apostles to imitate the spirit of Elijah. It was of no value to imitate Elijah’s actions because the times were different. God’s purpose transcends all generations but His approach was different in Old Testament times than it was in New Testament times. Elijah lived in a time when God was managing the kingdom of earthly Israel. Jesus had come to bring the eternal kingdom of God. Those are two different administrations which required very different approaches.
We see the same difference when David is commended for taking on the giant Goliath but Peter is rebuked for taking a sword and cutting off the ear of the high priest’s slave. As it says in Ecclesiastes, there is a time for everything. Make sure you know what spirit is motivating you. Otherwise, you can’t fulfill Galatians 6:1.
The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms.