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The Judgment QuestionScripture Reading: Luke 9:51-56; 23:26-34
Today’s Treasure: “When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, ‘Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?’ But Jesus turned and rebuked them” (Luke 9:54-55).
James and John asked Jesus if He wanted them to call down fire from heaven and destroy a Samaritan village that did not welcome Him. They remind me of two little boys holding their popguns, jumping up and down pleading: “Let me shoot! Let me! Let me!” The difference is, this was no game. They wanted to call down the fire of God. They were eagerly asking for permission to be agents of massive, irreversible destruction. Nothing is more permanent or terrifying than the destruction of the lost. We ought to be scared to death to wish such a thing on anyone. Eternity is a long time. Even when punishment comes to the terribly wicked, we are wise to remember with deep sobriety, humility, and thankfulness that only grace saves us from a like sentence.
We know this world is filled with wickedness. As Christ’s present-day disciples, we will no doubt be offended when people reject the Savior as the Samaritan village did that day. God’s desire, however, is for us to pray for His mercy, His Spirit’s conviction, and their repentance rather than their judgment. Christ said even of those who hammered the nails into His flesh, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (John 23:34).
God is indeed the righteous judge. When Christ returns, those who rejected Him will literally cry to the mountains, “‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’” (Luke 23:30). Judgment is coming, but may the thought of it cause us to weep, plead, and pray. Never boast or feel satisfaction. Only one thing stands between us and the lost: a blood-stained cross.
No matter how common this attitude is, it is terribly offensive to Christ. May we humble ourselves before Him, repent, and daily choose to lay down the albatross of our own egos.
Oh, God, give us a longing—not for the sin of this world to be judged—but for the sinners of this world to be forgiven. Give me the passion to pray for the salvation of the lost. Thank You for having mercy on my soul and for saving me from the destruction I deserve because of my sin. In Jesus’ name, Amen.