1. He sent messengers to prepare for his arrival. Unlike the twelve who were sent out to preach and to heal, these emissaries are a sort of advance party of scouts who prepare places of hospitality for the guests.
2. What is so significant about Jerusalem? Very simply, it was in Jerusalem that Jesus was to die for the salvation of men and be received up, that is ascend into heaven. It was in Jerusalem that He secured salvation for man through His death, resurrection, and ascension.
3. Jesus was rejected by Samaritans, Why? Because He was heading for Jerusalem, going to a place they despised. The Jews were unacceptable to them; therefore, they would have nothing to do with Jesus if He were going to minister in Jerusalem. Jerusalem had its own worship and priests, and the Samaritans had theirs. If Jesus would be theirs alone, they would gladly receive Him; if not, then He was not welcomed in their circles.
4. Fire to fall from heaven: A clear reference in 2 kg 1: 10 when Elijah threatens fire to fall on his enemies and then delivers on the promise. James and John went to practice similar vengeance on their opponents. Jesus teaches lesson on tolerance. Abraham Lincoln once asked about his cordiality with enemies noted “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends”
5. Jesus rebuking the disciples: Jesus is deriving a lesson for all the Christians ‘You do not know of what spirit you are and these’ and we should not forget his words ‘for the son of man did not come to destroy souls but to save them’. James and John were guilty of the very same error that the Samaritans had just committed. They were full of bitterness, wrath and vengeance, reacting against the Jews and Jesus. They wanted to destroy the Samaritans because the Samaritans were not willing to worship and live as James and John wished.
Jesus has vested the disciples with power and no doubt about it, but James and John ran the risk of misusing their power. Their plea might apparently sound justified but Jesus taught them that end cannot justify the means. Samaritans have rejected Jesus but they have reasons for that. People with power should not decide the fate of the powerless. Let us leave all the judgment to God and start practicing Charity which alone is expected from us the Christians.
The Preacher’s Outline and the Sermon Bible
The International Commentary on the NT
Sacra Pagina Series
William Barclay’s Commentary.