Luke 9 v 52 – 53 And he sent messengers ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem.
Luke’s narrative relates to his friend, Theophilus, and to us how when Christ’s messengers went to make arrangements for him to stay in a certain Samaritan village, the villages would not receive him, because he was headed for Jerusalem. We need to remember that there was great racial and religious hostility between the Samaritans and the Jews. We should also recall that elsewhere in the gospels Jesus had other dealings with Samaritans (John 4 )
Thus Jesus was a ‘persona non grata’ to the Samaritans. Little did they know what he was to endure in Jerusalem and that their own redemption depended on Jesus going there.
James and John are enraged by this insult to Jesus and want to call down fire from Heaven as a punishment on them. But Jesus rebukes them for now is not the time for judgement, but for grace. These people are acting out of immense ignorance. Later on after they had heard of his great salvation many would come to believe on him. (Acts 8 v 5- 25)
But for now, Jesus simply turns away and goes to another village.
We should all remember that the people we meet daily, who are not Christians, live in the same great ignorance, that these Samaritans displayed. Like Jesus we should be gentle with them. Who knows? God may grant light and understanding to some and they will be saved. If others continue in their rejection of God, he will deal with them himself in due course.
Let us remember our own deep ignorance and ever be thankful that our eyes were opened.