Fire in the scripture usually is symbolic of two things: purification and judgment. That the Jewish community, especially its leaders, had lost sight of the Law as a guide and used it to control people is clear, and Jesus points this out to them at every turn, but he also warns his own disciples not to fall into the trap of trying to manipulate others in his name.
How we understand power is critical to our life as believers. Power over others has no place in a Christian's life or spirituality because power belongs to God alone. That some have been given jurisdiction in the church for the sake of the church's integrity and mission is clear, but this power is intended to serve not dominate. Pope Francis has been making this especially clear in recent months.
"Real power is service... He humbled Himself unto death, even death on a cross for us, to serve us, to save us. And there is no other way in the Church to move forward. For the Christian, getting ahead, progress, means humbling oneself. If we do not learn this Christian rule, we will never, ever be able to understand Jesus’ true message on power."(Power)When we understand power as service, we must also examine our consciences. Do we need the same kind of purification Jesus brought to his own generation? In our fear or greed, have we exercised a kind of domination over others in order to control or threaten them?
Today, serve someone who is not grateful.
How do you understand the power given to us as believers?