THURSDAY, August 19
Scripture: Luke 9:51-56
Before we get too militaristic, perhaps we should look at James and John to make sure we are not aligning with their position in calling fire down prematurely. Just about the time we get to the point where the church considers moving into action we have a “what about” session. What about James and John who wanted to call fire down from heaven and Jesus told them they did not know what spirit they were of. There is probably no other passage in scripture that is used so bluntly against judicial action as Luke 9:51-56. The first thing we note about this passage is that Jesus is on His way to the cross. If James and John had been allowed to call fire down from heaven on those two cities, no one would have stood up and condemned Jesus for fear of annihilation. The entire plan of salvation would have been aborted. Those who turn to this passage and suggest that this is a pattern for the rest of our lives do more damage to scripture and are not honest interpreters of God’s Word. In Revelations 11:3-6 Jesus commands the two witnesses to call fire down on all who want to harm them. Their adversaries must die this way. Using Luke 9 to legislate “turn-the-other-cheek” doctrine is dishonest. We have to interpret between those two passages. The first thing an honest interpreter recommends is that we read the passage and honor the asterisks that are in it and see if that helps resolve the conflict. Sometimes the variances in the Greek texts dissolve the conflict when the best manuscripts are used for translation. What if the best texts omit “for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them” then what we need to do is read that passage with those verses excised and see how it sounds. The footnote n is the Nestle-Aland Greek text and the u stands for the United Bible Society Greek texts. Those are the two best that we have that most accurately reflect what we believe were the original text. If the conflict still exists we look for how to accept both passages as applicable to our lives. Bible interpreters who consistently use one passage to destroy another are walking a dangerous line and may ultimately be dishonest!