Authority and Rights


From Luke 9:

When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem; and He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went and entered a village of the Samaritans to make arrangements for Him. But they did not receive Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem.

When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But He turned and rebuked them, [and said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” ] And they went on to another village.

Not long before the conversation above took place, a man had brought his son to Jesus to be healed. He said his son was demonized and would convulse, foam at the mouth and end up “mauled.” The father also noted that he had already asked the disciples to heal him, but they couldn’t do it.

Jesus called them an unbelieving generation and healed the boy Himself.

What I find humorous (and telling) in this is that the disciples couldn’t muster the faith to heal a child, but all of a sudden when they are offended, they’re confident in their abilities to call down fire from heaven and destroy the Samaritans.

They didn’t have faith to heal but they had faith for vengeance. Or perhaps they were just more interested in vengeance.

One thing I’ve noticed about Jesus is that when He used His power and authority, it was on behalf of others. He never once defended His own rights or even His life, though He certainly could have.

There is no insecurity – driven protection of ego, or demand for respect, which is so prevalent in us, as humans. Instead it was,

You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.

I believe we should live the same way. Whatever authority we have ought to be spent on behalf of others, to love them more and better.

As believers set in a culture fixated on My Rights, the safest place would seem to be in the place of fighting for the rights of others, not our own (except, of course, in cases of abuse, but that’s not what I’m talking about here).

When we take up our own cause it’s very difficult not to become angry, vengeful, unpleasant and ungodly. It’s a rare sort of person who can fight for himself and remain pure in heart.

I am, again, amazed at the heart of Jesus.

Just a thought…

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