The Northfield

  2535 Shore Road

  Northfield, NJ 08225

  (609)646-1181

Church of Christ

09/02/2010

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The Rechanneling Of Zeal


"When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, 'Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?' But Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went to another village" (Luke 9:54-55).

Have you ever felt so strongly about something that you could just not control yourself in reaction to it? Perhaps you made an unrealistic threat toward it in the heat of the moment. James and John were not nicknamed the Sons of Thunder (Mark 3:17) for nothing. It was necessary for Jesus to make His way to Jerusalem and they had to pass through a corner of Samaria. The Samaritans wanted nothing to do with Jews on their way to the temple in Jerusalem, for they had what they thought was the proper place of worship in Mt. Gerizim. (John 4:20). Messengers were sent ahead to assure a safe passage but were turned away. James and John's zeal was unbridled as they asked Jesus the question in today's verse. Maybe they remembered reading of Elijah calling down fire from heaven, (2 Kings 1:9-16) and wanted the same fate to befall the Samaritans here. These are the same James and John who sent their mom to Jesus to ask that they might sit at His right and left side in Glory. The same James and John who in that same setting said that they would be willing to "drink the cup I am going to drink" (Matt. 20: 22).

Zeal and even ambition can be a good thing. Unbridled zeal and ambition can cause all kinds of problems. Enthusiasm for a good cause can be a good thing. Enthusiasm that is uncontrolled can lead to many mistakes. To their desire to call fire down from heaven, Jesus responded. "But Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went to another village" (Vs 55-56). To their request for prominent positions in glory He responded; "To sit at my right or left is not for me to grant....they have been prepared by the Father" (Matt. 20:23). Here is my point. Jesus was able to turn men with obvious flaws into productive workers. He was able to channel their zeal toward productive ways. He was even able to reroute their misguided personal ambition into positive productivity. He can do the same for us if we are willing to read, listen and learn. The Lord needs zealous and ambitious people...

Have a great day..I will write again on Monday... Go about doing good.... Love mark Phil. 4:11

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