#DailyDevotion The Church Isn’t Called To Exact Temporal Punishments
Luk 9:51-55 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. (52) And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. (53) But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. (54) And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” (55) But he turned and rebuked them.
Jesus knew his time was coming to be crucified (taken up). Never the less he set is face to go to Jerusalem. He was dead set on going there to fulfill his mission for which he was sent, to save the world. He knew there in Jerusalem he was going to be betrayed by one of his disciples. He knew the rest of them would abandon him in his hour of need. Jesus also knew the Father was going to lay the sin of the world upon him as the scapegoat outside the city gates. With the sin of the world upon him he would suffer what we all deserve for our sins, our guilt, our transgressions and iniquity. He would bear our shame upon that cross to take it away from us. He would feel forsaken by God. Yet he was determined to go to Jerusalem for your sake. So you may repent and live in him.
As we was going he sent messengers ahead of to prepare his way. He was going through Samaria. Samaria was that portion of Palestine which was inhabited by the people settled there by the Assyrians after exiling a large portion of the Israelites who lived there. They interbred with the remaining Israelites and adopted their religion. They were rejected by the Jews when the exiled Jews returned to build the temple. So they hated the Jews and since Jesus was headed to Jerusalem they rejected him. They wanted him to suffer. It was part of our salvation he was winning for us.
Two of his disciples wanted to bring fire down upon the villages but Jesus turned and rebuked them. You see, the Church of Jesus Christ isn’t here to bring temporal punishments upon the world. Jesus tells us in John, Joh 3:17 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” Joh 12:47 “If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.” Jesus was going to Jerusalem to save the world. To call down fire upon those villages for rejecting him would be antithetical to his mission.
But that doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t call the world to repentance. Just as Jesus rebuked his disciples he commissions his Church to rebuke sin. The Church and her members, Christians, are to call people to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. We are to point out sin and warn people of the judgment to come. People will not always like that. They may tells us Jesus’ word, “Don’t judge your neighbor.” Well you may have to ask yourself are you judging them. What is your motivation? Are you wanting to save them or condemn them? We are to condemn sin. We are called to point out that those who live in sin will be judged by Christ on the Last Day. Everyone who didn’t repent of their sins and trust Jesus went to Jerusalem to be taken up upon the cross and to die for their sins will have to account for them. Without Christ Jesus in this life you will not fare well on Judgment Day. You will be found lacking, not good enough, you will not have done enough good deeds to cancel out our your bad deeds.
So while we Christians, the Church, are called to rebuke sin and call people to repentance, we are not here to punish people for their sins. The world, governments will punish people for transgressing against their neighbors. We are only a people of the Word. We share and proclaim the Word so people may escape the final judgment and the rebuke of Christ Jesus.
Heavenly Father, you sent your son Jesus Christ into the world not to judge it but to save it. Give us the mind of Christ so we may correctly rebuke those living in sin so they may repent of those sins, hear the good news of the forgiveness of sins for Christ’s sake, believe and escape the judgment that is coming upon the whole earth. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.