Elijah Calls Down Fire [Part 2]
By Alan Wright — January 28, 2019
Are you ready for some good news?
Jesus hasn’t just died for you; Jesus has taken the wrath of God’s judgment against sin for you.
Today’s Texts: “But Elijah answered the captain of fifty, ‘If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.’ Then fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.” (2 Kings 1:10, ESV)
“But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 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?’” (Luke 9:53–54, ESV)
“I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!” (Luke 12:49–50, ESV)
Some wit once joked about a small plane that was transporting a doctor, a lawyer, a minister and a little boy. When the single engine aircraft developed engine problems, the pilot grabbed a parachute and told the four passengers to do likewise. Unfortunately, the passengers soon realized that there were only three remaining parachutes. The doctor proclaimed that he was needed to save lives, so he grabbed a parachute and jumped. The lawyer said he was needed because he was one of the smartest men alive, so the attorney grabbed a parachute and jumped. The gracious pastor looked at the boy and said, “Son, I’ve lived a long full life—I’m not afraid to die. Here, you take the last parachute because you have your whole life in front of you.” But the boy reached behind his seat, grabbed another parachute, handed it to the pastor and declared: “No worries Pastor. We’re both okay because the smartest man in the world just jumped out with my backpack.”
Jesus isn’t like the nice, sacrificial pastor who offered his parachute to a little boy. No, Jesus did far more than replace you in the position of one who was certain to die (though that He did). Jesus came to receive the judgment of God against sinful humanity; Christ experienced the wrath of God.
When the Samaritans rejected Jesus’ messengers, the disciples remembered the story of Elijah calling down fire on the soldiers of the wicked King Ahaziah. The disciples wondered if they should also call down fire. But Jesus rebuked them. Why? Was it because Jesus brought no fire? No, not according to Jesus’ words in Luke 12. Jesus indeed come to cast fire like Elijah. But the fire of God’s wrath was not cast upon the Samaritans, or you and me. The fire of God fell on Jesus. The Messiah took the fire for you so that you would only know the warmth of God’s affection. Your sin has been judged, punished and burned up at the cross. And that’s the Gospel!