Tuesday in the Fourteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Luke 9:51-56

Mistaken Zeal

Since Simon Peter’s confession at Caesarea-Philippi (that Jesus is the Christ), matters in each of the gospels hasten towards our Lord’s passion in Jerusalem.  Luke writes, “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.”  Luke tells us in another place that Jesus said, “It cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem” (13:33).  Jesus knew who he was and where he was going, and not only to Jerusalem, but “up,” to return to his heavenly Father upon finishing his work; that is, he looked beyond the cross to the joy set before him, as we should do (John 14:28; Hebrews 11:13-16; 12:2).

But as Jesus and his disciples were in Galilee, they must travel through Samaria to get to Jerusalem.  Jesus had had some good relations with Samaritans before (John 4).  So as they were coming to a village in Samaria (it doesn’t say which one), Jesus sent messengers ahead to “make preparations” for him.  But the Samaritan village would not receive Jesus, a terrible choice since Jesus said, “Whoever receives me receives the One who sent me” (John 13:20).  But we mustn’t be harsh with these Samaritans; most people, both then and now, do not receive Jesus.  And why did they not receive him?  Because Jesus was headed for Jerusalem; that is, their village wasn’t his final destination.  Obviously, the Samaritans hated the Jews as much as the Jews hated them.  They were zealous (and jealous) for Samaria.  Well, James and John knew just what to do in payment for such an insult: Call fire down from heaven to consume them!  These two weren’t called the “Sons of Thunder” for nothing (Mark 3:17).  And Jesus, as we would expect, rebuked them.  So James and John were just as zealous (and jealous) for Jesus and Jerusalem, themselves.

To be zealous can be good – or it can be bad.  We need more zeal for the Lord.  Paul writes that Christ “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14).  On the other hand, Paul was a zealous persecutor of the church (Philippians 3:6).  And he writes that it was zeal that kept the Jews from embracing Christ, a zeal without knowledge (Romans 10:2).  Zeal must be wed to knowledge and wisdom.  I would say that if anything we wish to do blinds us with passion and makes us deaf to the godly counsel of others, we need to check ourselves (please see Proverbs 18:1 and 25:28).  We must ask ourselves, “How does this activity, which I so want to do, serve the kingdom as Christ would desire?”

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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