And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”
James and John were called the “Sons of Thunder.” When they discovered a Samaritan village that would not receive Jesus, they were fully prepared to call down fire to consume the entire community! Perhaps they felt that through such a show of power, their gospel message might be enhanced. The two brothers were willing to sacrifice the lives of the villagers in order to further the cause of the gospel. Jesus rebuked them.
Later, the apostles heard that Samaria had responded to the gospel (Acts 8:14). Who was commissioned to go and help them receive the Holy Spirit but Peter and John! God’s purpose had not been to destroy those people but to save them. God chose not to rain down fire on the village, but to shower it with His Holy Spirit. What must have gone through John’s mind as he saw those same people, whom he had been ready to destroy, now rejoicing in their salvation? How grateful he must have been that Jesus had prevented him from carrying out his plans! What an enormous contrast between man’s thinking and God’s! Man’s thinking would have resulted in the destruction of an entire village. God’s plan brought salvation to it. People will benefit far more from what God wants to give them than from your best plans. Have you been shortchanging the people around you by merely giving them your plans instead of God’s?