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05

Character of John - 4 - Pride and Ambition Reproved

Average reading time is about 2 and a half minutes

For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village. Luke 9:56

Jesus understood the motives which prompted the request, and thus reproved the pride and ambition of the two disciples: 'Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many' (verses 42-45).

Upon one occasion Christ sent messengers before Him unto a village of the Samaritans, requesting the people to prepare refreshments for Himself and His disciples. But when the Saviour approached the town, He appeared to be passing on toward Jerusalem. This aroused the enmity of the Samaritans, and instead of sending messengers to invite and even urge Him to tarry with them, they withheld the courtesies which they would have given to a common wayfarer. Jesus never urges His presence upon any, and the Samaritans lost the blessing which would have been granted them had they solicited Him to be their guest.

We may wonder at this uncourteous treatment of the Majesty of heaven, but how frequently are we who profess to be the followers of Christ guilty of similar neglect. Do we urge Jesus to take up His abode in our hearts and in our homes? He is full of love, of grace, of blessing, and stands ready to bestow these gifts upon us; but, like the Samaritans, we are often content without them.

The disciples were aware of the purpose of Christ to bless the Samaritans with His presence; and when they saw the coldness, jealousy, and disrespect shown to their Master, they were filled with surprise and indignation. James and John were especially stirred. That He whom they so highly reverenced should be thus treated, seemed to them a crime too great to be passed over without immediate punishment. In their zeal they said, 'Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?' (Luke 9:54), referring to the destruction of the Syrian captains and their companies sent out to take the prophet Elijah.

Jesus rebuked His disciples, saying, 'Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them' (verses 55, 56). John and his fellow disciples were in a school in which Christ was teacher. Those who were ready to see their own defects, and were anxious to improve in character, had ample opportunity. John treasured every lesson and constantly sought to bring his life into harmony with the Divine Pattern. The lessons of Jesus, setting forth meekness, humility, and love as essential to growth in grace, and a fitness for his work, were of the highest value to John. These lessons are addressed to us as individuals and as brethren in the church, as well as to the first disciples of Christ.
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