12.01.01 Mt. 19:1-2; Lk. 9:51-56 (See also Mk. 10:1) Galilee to Samaria to Judea
GALILEAN MINISTRY ENDS
Mt. 1 When Jesus had finished this instruction, He departed from Galilee and went to the region of Judea across the Jordan. 2 Large crowds followed Him, and He healed them there.
Lk. 51 When the days were coming to a close for Him to be taken up, He determined to journey to Jerusalem. 52 He sent messengers ahead of Him, and on the way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make preparations for Him. 53 But they did not welcome Him, because He determined to journey to Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?”
55 But He turned and rebuked them, 56 and they went to another village.
At this point the Galilean ministry ends, as Jesus predicted in Matthew 16:21. His time on earth was coming to a close and He began His final journey to Jerusalem.
“Region of Judea across the Jordan.” The gospels give interesting insights into geography and political areas. Today, Judea is not normally considered to be on the eastern side of the Jordan River, but Matthew and Mark clearly state this because the region of Perea was sometimes also known as the “region of Judea across the Jordan.”
“Lord, do You want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” James and John certainly knew their Jewish history. The comment of calling fire down from heaven was reflective of Elijah who once called down fire from heaven and consumed 100 men and their two captains (2 Kgs. 1:9-16). So their thinking was quite logical: if someone like Elijah had the divine power and authority to call fire down from heaven, how much more could Jesus do? However, they had not realized that the Kingdom of Heaven was one of faith and obedience and cannot be spread by wrath and destruction. It must arise out of one’s heart with love and humility. It must rest upon a free and honest conviction, and it grows continuously in the love of Jesus.
The negative attitude of the disciples demonstrates that Luke’s gospel is authentic. Some critics have suggested that the gospels were created to embellish the life events of Jesus and His disciples. If that were the case, the gospel writers would not have included such negative comments as this one.
The reaction of the disciples was quite negative and typical of the sentiments most Jews had toward their Samaritan neighbors. Clearly the disciples wanted divine judgment – fire – to fall upon those who rejected them. Most Samaritans, like so many Jews, had difficulty determining the identity of Jesus and, therefore, rejected Him as the messiah. But Jesus did not reject them; His compassion prevailed as He understood their difficulties. Later He healed ten lepers, one of whom was a Samaritan who returned to thank Him for the healing (Lk. 17:11-19). The disciples were willing to call fire from heaven to destroy them because of their hostile attitude, but the grace of God prevailed and, three years later, when the evangelist Philip began preaching, they were receptive (Acts 8:4-8).
. Some ancient writers use the term “Judea” in the broadest sense. Examples are found in Pliny the Elder, Natural History, 5.15.70; Strabo, Geographia, 16.4.21; and Dio Sassius, Roman History, 37.15.2.
. The term “fire” was frequently used by Old Testament prophets: Isa. 29:6; 66:15; Ezek. 38:22; Amos 1:4; 7:4; Zeph. 1:18; 3:8; Mal. 3:2; 4:1. The term is also found in numerous extra-biblical books such as Jubilees 9:15; 36:10 and in the Dead Sea Scrolls.