Were the Disciples Rednecks?

You may have heard it said, As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. There is an excellent illustration of this principle in Luke 9 that caught my attention this morning. Jesus and His disciples passed through a Samaritan city, but the people there did not receive Him. When James and John saw this, they asked a question that revealed a lot about what was in their hearts: “Lord, how ‘bout if we pray some big ol’ fire down to blow this sorry ol’ village full of unbelievers up, just like how Elijah did that one time?”

James and John?I hope I don’t cause offense, but the suggestion that they ‘blow the place up’ just felt a little good ol’ boy, Dukes of Hazzard style to me — I mean who gets so ticked off at a town they think about blowing the place up when they leave? But seriously, what their statement reveals is the disciples’ inadequate understanding of the kingdom of God. They are still under the impression that Jesus is after world domination. They hope (and think) His kingdom will deliver them from the oppression of the Roman Empire. They are looking forward to ‘ruling the joint’ with Jesus, and they’re all bidding to at least be riding shotgun in the General Lee.

Jesus rebukes them for their suggestion and says, “You don’t have a clue what’s going on in your hearts, guys. I am not here to destroy people — I am here to save people.”  We can remember from 2 Peter 3: 8- 9 that God doesn’t desire that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  And we should understand that the Kingdom Jesus came to preach and to live had nothing to do with earthly governance and ‘ruling the joint.’

Our challenge today is to ask God to continually renew our minds. Our generation has a vast amount of information at our fingertips, and some of it is knowledge. Some of it might even include some wisdom. But where knowledge puffs up (and can make us arrogant) love builds up. Without being transformed by the renewing of our minds, and asking God to put His love for others in our hearts, our actions will simply be based on our own reasonings, and will produce fruit contrary to the will of God.

The Sermon in a Nutshell: wrong thinking produces wrong acting. Let God transform you by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12: 2) Hopefully the next time you get ticked off, your prayers won’t head in the direction of blowing stuff up.