When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village. Luke 9:55-56
I knew something was not right. As I sat down at the dinner table to inquire about my daughters’ day at school, Praise was disgusted as well as her mother. She forgot she’ll have a Math quiz this day that she did not get a remarkable score. Given her parents are both academicians, she failed at our expectations. We expect her to be at her best. We expect her to be prepared every time. We expect her to bring out those As. As my parents told us and as we always say to them, education is our legacy for them. It must have ruined my day or night. It must have planted anger in my heart towards her ways. But I know better. As I asked for her quiz paper, I turned and hugged her, “I love you and nothing’s change…” She deserves another crack. She has my heart for all the chances. As a father, I know at some point she will fail us again tomorrow or next week or next month, and I’ll be there to assure her “I love you and nothing’s change…” and to give her another chance and another and another.
Jesus does this to us. He gives us chances. He gives us opportunities to make it right. The Sons of Thunder knew the opposite. They wanted to call down fire from heaven to consume the inhospitable men and women of this Samaritan village where they are stopping over before going to Jerusalem. They might have the point, Jesus sent an advanced party ahead of them in this route (v. 52). Something was not right. They should have been welcomed but were not. Calling down fire from the sky is rationale. But Jesus knows better. He rebuked the brothers and went to another place. However, Jesus did not rebuke the village which has a bank-vault-like-closed door for them. They failed him yet he is giving them chances. He is giving them another crack. He gave them chances.
We may fail him again and again and again. And Jesus will be there to wrap his arms around us and will give us another chance and another and another.
(he appointed the twelve:) Simon, whom he named Peter; James, son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder; Mark 3:16-17
His name is Alan Bondoc yet we named him Bijong. Alan looked like my cousin from whom we derived the name. Joram Vitug is his legal name and we re-named him Dodong. There was a little boy, who looks like Joram, with that name in our outreach service for children. We call Edwin Eco as Balugbug (Ear), for his ears tell the story. Jocas is for Jose Castro, a dear brother in Christ. Elmer Lacsamana prefers to be called Mheayaye. Allan Angeles is Apa, being a look-alike of a popular journalist. These are some of the brothers and fellow followers of Jesus with whom I have served. Their nicknames bring distinction among us. They serve God with the same passion and same zeal. Each one has a role to occupy. Bijong after his volunteer work with us became a missionary priest in East Timor, Indonesia. Dodong became a faithful husband and loving father but before that he has served the group in every capacity. Balugbug is an excellent music leader whose gift is still unparalleled as of this writing. Jocas is best remembered for serving with us with his availability in providing his administrative and management skills. Mheayaye and Apa are well-known for their leadership skills. Mheayaye continues to work in building a covenant community among our brothers and sisters. Each has made an impact. Distinct from one another yet united in serving God and His people.
Jesus named Simon as Peter. He gave James and John the name Boanerges. Thomas was also called Didymus since he has a twin. Maybe, all these disciples have another name to make them distinct. Whatever they were named or called, these men followed Jesus. These men loved Jesus. They followed Him. They walked and ate with Him. They slept where Jesus slept. They went with Jesus for mission. They left their work and families for Christ. Each has made an impact, and their lives are our models to follow. Given their names, they were distinct from one another yet united in serving God and His people.
Today and two thousand years ago, we are differently called but respond to one similar calling – to be a disciple. That is the distinction.