51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 Then he and his disciples went to another village.
How do I respond when someone opposes me?
I can think of a number of times in my life, where I needed to get something important done, but for one reason or another, someone, or a group of people, felt the need to oppose what I was doing.
Recently I stood up for someone in my local community who had been unfairly treated by a government department, but it seemed impossible to get any sort of reconciliation or even an acknowledgement that the treatment of this person was unfair. After many many hours of advocacy, I still don’t feel like I have gotten anywhere because of the level of opposition.
I must say that I can identify with the disciples here. My human nature is to want to overcome opposition. My human nature is also that I want to make life difficult for those who make things hard for me.
But the message of Christ is demonstrated here as much as it is spoken in Matthew 4:43-44:
“You have heard it said “Love your neighbour and hate your enemy” but I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”
I honestly think that this is one of the hardest and most costly messages that is central to the mission of Christ. Not just in the challenge of actually living out this very challenging call to be a person of peace, but also in the challenges of how nuanced it can be to “love my enemies” and how much I am meant to “pray for those who persecute me”.
Do I just pray that they would see the light? Do I pray for their salvation in Christ? Or do I genuinely pray for their wellbeing and prosperity in the exact opposite spirit to what my human nature desires? And how much am I meant to have my actions follow my prayers!!?
Lord, I thank you for this word today and the challenge that it brings to me. Father help me to truly continue to wrestle with the principles that you call me to live by.
Written by Ps. Justin Ware