Let us Love Supernaturally {Luke 9}

12:00 AM

By Sue Desmarais

Chapter 9 in the Book of Luke is full of important truths; most have been included in other Gospels as well, so I decided to write about the one portion of the chapter that is only mentioned here and that is Luke 9:51-56,

 Now when the time was approaching for Jesus to be taken up [to heaven], He was determined to go to Jerusalem [to fulfill His purpose].  He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went into a Samaritan village to make arrangements for Him; but the people would not welcome 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 destroy them?” But He turned and rebuked them [and He said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”] And they journeyed on to another village.

Can you relate? I mean have you ever treated someone unkindly because they had mistreated you in someway? Ever:

  •  Snickered when you pass a car pulled over for speeding after they were on your tail and finally blew by you going way over the speed limit?
  •  Not smiled and greeted a person because they never greet you, so you both ignore one another in the hall?
  •  Not “liked” someone’s post on Facebook, because they never “like” yours?

It may sound silly, but it happens!

Theologians often refer to this passage in Luke when trying to explain why Jesus named these brothers the “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17) It seems so out of character for these boys. Why would Jesus choose men like these to become His disciples anyway?

I also thought of a similar time in David’s life that takes place in 1 Samuel 25. David had been kind to Nabal’s servants and hoped Nabal would seek to return the kindness, but instead Nabal insulted David and refused to share his food with him and his men. Upon hearing this, David immediately instructed his men to strap on their swords and set off to destroy Nabal and all that belonged to him. Fortunately, Nabal’s wife, Abilgail was able to reach David before he made it to the home and convinced David that what he was attempting to do was not of God.

In the Old Testament the law of “an eye for an eye” is mentioned twice (Leviticus 24:20; Deuteronomy 19:21). Each time, the phrase is used in the context of a case being judged before a civil authority such as a judge. “An eye for an eye” was intended to be a guiding principle for lawgivers and judges; it was never to be used to justify settling grievances personally. However in the New Testament, it seems the Pharisees and scribes had taken the “eye for an eye” principle and applied it to everyday personal relationships. They taught that seeking personal revenge was acceptable. If someone punched you, you could punch him back; if someone insulted you, he was fair game for your insults. Therefore, it may have seemed acceptable to John and James at the time to destroy everyone in the city simply because they refused to be hospitable, but this was not what the Master had been teaching at all!

Jesus had preached from the beginning of his ministry on the Sermon on the Mount that one was blessed to be poor in spirit, to be meek and mourn.  They were blessed to hunger and thirst after righteousness and be filled with mercy; to be pure in heart and a peacemaker. One was even blessed when persecuted for righteousness' sake! They were to rejoice, rather than get even! (Mt 5:3-12)
Jesus even went on to say, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’  But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.  If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.  Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.

 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you...” Matthew 5:35-44
As the New Testament church began, James became the first apostle to be killed (Acts 12:2) but, John was the last of the apostles to die of old age. In John’s epistles, written late in his life, he hints that he still possessed a fervency in his spirit, especially in his denunciations of apostates and deceivers (1 John 2:22; 2 John 7; 3 John 10) but, by then his fervency was definitely tempered by love. In fact, in 1 John the word “love” appears over 40 times!

When John first met Jesus, he was one of the “Boanerges- the “Son’s of Thunder” but after walking with Jesus for a lifetime, he earned a new nickname the “Apostle of Love”, for he constantly emphasized love in his letters:
  • “For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another” (1 John 3:11).
  • He calls himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23; 20:2; 21:7, 20)
  • He admonishes his fellow believers, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11).

Scripture also testifies that David’s attitude changed over time as well. Therefore, I’ve come to the conclusion that the desire to get even somehow when mistreated is natural. Its part of our human nature, but loving others after being mistreated is supernatural and can only be done when one walks surrendered to the Spirit’s power within.

Our attitudes towards others can be used as a barometer to help us gage how closely we’re walking with Jesus at any given moment and whether or not we need to make some adjustments in our walk with Him. Does your love towards others tend to be supernatural and unconditional, or are you only giving out no more than what you’ve already received?

O Father, come in and take over. Love others supernaturally through us! And may our love, or lack of love act as a barometer that reveals at all times just how closely we’re walking with You, for it’s in the name of Your precious Son who loves us beyond measure we pray. Amen 

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