Jesus is respected by many as “one of the greats,” but actually that’s giving Him no respect at all. He is distinctly different from others who are heralded as great prophets and teachers, and there’s not enough trees in all the world to make the paper for the list of differences. But in this era of terrorism in the name of religion, please notice what Jesus said.
Jesus’ disciples went into a Samaritan village, preparing for Jesus’ soon arrival to the town. When the villagers rejected their efforts, James and John asked Jesus if they should call down fire from heaven to consume them, these “infidels” who refused to “convert.” Jesus did NOT approve of their idea of killing those who would not believe. Jesus said, “For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them” (Luke 9:56). These Samaritans would live to see another day, and in their tomorrow and the next day and the day after that, God would allow them more time and opportunity to receive the gift of salvation that Jesus came to give them through His death.The grace of God on display.
Jesus. The One who forgave the adulterer. The One who gave a brand new life to the tax collector. The One who had compassion upon the weary and scattered. The One who gave life and healing, not death nor injury. Jesus, the One who knew all too well that all of us are guilty and deserving of terrible punishment, and His response was to take the horrible punishment for us.
That’s what Jesus did to the “infidel.” He died for them because He loves them. (And because we have all been the enemies of God at one time or another in our lives, perhaps the better way to write that sentence is: He died for us because He loves us.)
And now what of us, His followers? May our hearts never grow hardened in the face of evil. We must remember that we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, and that’s why Jesus calls us to pray for our enemies. We are called to love like Jesus. Our enemies who are spreading terror around the world are broken, confused, deceived people, chained up in spiritual bondage, and Jesus the Son of God can radically save their souls. We must pray for them, brothers and sisters, pray like we’ve never prayed before! Pray until God has cleansed our hearts of fear and hate! Pray for their souls, pray for God’s power to be displayed through the gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives. May we pray like we believe in the power of God.