Sunday, June 27, 2010

Power made perfect

Sunday - June 27, 2010.

...On the way they entered a Samaritan village
to prepare for his reception there,but they would not welcome him,
because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?”
Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village...
(Lk 9:51-62)

This passage relating to the disciples James and John struck me with some amusement. They must have been reading too much of Elijah. At the time, it was evident that the disciples were still on the journey to spiritual maturity, at which they were still overcome by their human feelings of bravado and revenge. Although they realized they had some amount of power connected with their intimate association with Jesus, they did not yet realize the ultimate meaning of that real power. This reminds me of that memorable line in the spiderman movies: "With great power comes great responsibility".

The Samaritan village did not welcome them, and I imagine the two offended disciples could have been pelted by overripe tomatoes. It is easy to see why they thought of invoking fire from heaven to get back at their offenders. This kind of reaction is a worldly reaction to trials, and that is why "Jesus turned around and rebuked them". Didn't Jesus say we should love our enemies? Did He not tell us to do unto others what we want others to do unto us? Divine power is for a higher purpose - He desires the salvation of all.

It is not so easy not to succumb to our emotional reactions to those which offend us. All of us are subjected to these kinds of trials, and in my case this typically happens while I am driving on the road. A usual instance is when a reckless driver would suddenly swerve into my lane causing me to hit the brakes abruptly. This so infuriates me for a moment, enough to wish that all four tires of that reckless vehicle go flat all at the same time. Certainly, the traffic cops should accost this person. In a while I would will myself to calm down, as I realize I had to pray for the conversion of that driver, for his sake and for the sake of the other drivers on the road. Wishing that driver to suffer four flat tires was not very Christianlike, I thought. Well... maybe one flat tire was enough.

The disciples soon realize that the greatest power and strength emanates from the love of our Risen Savior. It comes with immense responsibilities for whomever is gifted with it. It also turns our worldly concepts of power and strength upside down, but it is the only kind of power and strength that matters. In 2 Cor 12:9, St Paul typified the disciples' ultimate strength when he acknowledged Jesus' power inside him. Jesus said to Paul:

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.".

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