Week 3 | Wednesday

Week 3: What Attitude Does Jesus Challenge?

Samaritan Opposition: Judgement

by Janet Nygren

Today’s vignette follows immediately after yesterdays’ passage, the argument over who is the greatest. But there is a shift in focus as “Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” There is a greater urgency to Jesus’ teaching because of the limited time he has left. By way of background, it is important to keep in mind how the Samaritans are viewed by the Jews. Similar in some ways to tax collectors (but for completely different reasons), Samaritans are seen as traitors to Israel. During the time of the exile, the Samaritans were the Jews who remained in the land, but intermarried with the pagans who were brought in by the ruling nations to work the land. Because of their intermarriages, the Samaritans were seen as unfaithful to their nation, Israel. When the Jews who were exiled returned, hostility remained between the now distinct ethnic groups for generations. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you consider Jesus’ interaction with his disciples in this short passage.

Read: Luke 9:51-56

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.

Be Curious:

  • When Jesus, a little before this, sent his disciples out to villages to teach and heal others, he told them, “If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them (Luke 9:5).” Given this instruction, what do you suppose Jesus was planning to do regarding this Samaritan village?
  • How do the attitudes of the people in this village compare to the attitudes of James and John?
  • Based on what you’ve seen of Jesus so far in Luke, what is the likelihood of him wanting to call fire down from heaven to destroy the Samaritans?


  • How do your judgments of people align with God’s judgments?
  • How does Jesus make God’s intent for humanity most clear, regardless of what may have occurred earlier in Biblical history?


  • Ask God to help you align your heart and mind with his as you encounter others who are not like you.


  • Have you been wrongly judged by others? Are there certain people you have judged as worthy of destruction from fire from heaven (even if you don’t say it out loud)? Have you experienced a change of heart in how you have judged others (or been rebuked)? Share something of your experience with others.


David Edelsteinq - March 15th, 2023 at 4:38am

My natural human tendency in the flesh is to tear down others who are disagreeable or hold opinions different from my own. But Jesus said he came to save others, not to destroy them. Jesus had just finished correcting his disciples for wanting to stop an outsider from healing others because he wasn't one of them. They persisted in that destructive spirit when they encountered the unwelcome Samaritans. But just like the woman at the well, there were other Samaritans and many in her village who did eventually welcome Jesus. I need to show more patience with others and realize that it is God's job to do the saving; it's mine to show what he has done for me.

Nick Tebordo - March 15th, 2023 at 5:13am

I remember the Chosen Episode where James and John wanted to call down fire. Jesus reprimanded them and later they joked about it. Jesus is trying to teach them a whole new way of relating to people. As far as the shaking the dust off your feet comment, I don’t think Jesus ever gives up on people. I go back to what Janet taught regarding the parable of the sower. We go through varying stages-hard soil, weeds, rocks and good soil. When someone is hardened to the Gospel, it is not time to present the Gospel to them. Move on. But, come back when there is a time that they are open. Heading out to snow blow and then-down to communion. Prayers appreciated.

David Edelstein - March 15th, 2023 at 5:28am

Yes that's true, the Holy Spirit lead Phillip in Acts 8 to return to Samaria when the people hearts were opened. Many were healed and there was great joy in the city.

Tom Nygren - March 15th, 2023 at 6:10am

I find it striking that James and John, two of Jesus' closest disciples and presumably leaders of the twelve, had such a major misconception of what Jesus was all about -- and this was near the end of his ministry, when they had been with him for a long time. I wonder what blind spots I have, even after following Jesus for a long time? It makes me more humble about my ideas and attitudes toward others. I once had a falling out with a work colleague who accused me of being arrogant and condescending. I was surprised and hurt (and defensive), but I suspect she was probably right.

Janet Nygren - March 15th, 2023 at 7:34am

I come from a family where education was highly valued. For my parents, it was their ticket to a better life. But I have realized over time that it has skewed my perspectives on people. The most important lessons I have learned in my life are things you don't learn by going to school--they are hard-earned perspectives on love, wisdom, fruits-of-the-spirit-kind of qualities. And I have often learned the most valuable lessons from people I may have otherwise looked down on--to my shame. Lord, help me to look at people as you do.

Melody - March 15th, 2023 at 9:28am

Today's devotional really resonates with me. With all the talk of deconstruction earlier this week, first in the sermon and then in our Monday Zoom group, nobody ever mentioned the most common reason for many to reject the traditional church, and church culture in general.

But Janet has exposed it here. I honestly believe that all of the people I've seen in a state of deconstruction, whether that caused them to leave God altogether, seek a new church, or remain in church but work toward change (I put myself in that category)--the reason for rejecting "Christian" culture is that so much of it for so many millennia includes calling down fire from heaven as a core value. I place Christanese language, trends, and even music in that category sometimes as well--anything that creates an in group and an out group. Instead of just brushing off our feet (which feels more like a shrug than a fist-shaking), we create spaces where they feel unwelcome and language that they don't understand, all the while believing that their refusal to join us demonstrates their worthiness of eternal damnation.

Anyway--all that, combined with the discussion I'm reading here, reminds me of why I love our particular church and the people who choose to be together in it so much. Everyone here is really doing the work to be more like Jesus, and that makes me want to be more like all of you.

Ruthie Nygren Keller - March 15th, 2023 at 9:44am

My husband and I have been drastically miss-judged by a neighbor who we used to be good friends with. I have never been hated so much in my life and can do absolutely nothing about it. (Although, of course, I have tried to reconcile.) Because I usually get along with pretty much everybody it is very strange to be the “hated” one. It has stretched me immensely and I am still trying to figure out how to live out Christ’s calling in this circumstance. Sometimes you do have to shake the dust off your feet and go to another “town.”




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