Luke 9:54

When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” (NASB)

Did James and John have the power to command fire from heaven? Is there any other verse from the Gospels that is related to this power?

  • Luke 9:54 is a reenactment [1 Kings 18:37-39]. In parallel to 1 Kings 18:37-38, James and John are portrayed as Elijah urgently requesting a miracle from Yehovah in order for people to recognize His Authority. Dec 14, 2020 at 21:38

1 Answer 1


In short the answer is yes they had power εξουσιαν, meaning authority to call down fire from heaven, if permission were granted. There is precedent for this in the OT, Elijah calling fire from heaven twice, Elisha calling two she-bears to maul the children.

“But Elijah answered them, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.” ‭‭2 Kings‬ ‭1:12‬ ‭

“And he turned around, and when he saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lord. And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys.” ‭‭2 Kings‬ ‭2:24‬ ‭

The disciples were endowed with power/authority εξουσιαν by Jesus, not specifically to call down fire from heaven (this is not lightning, this was fire).

“And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority εξουσιαν over the unclean spirits.” ‭‭Mark‬ ‭6:7‬ ‭

Now granted Mark specifies that it was over unclean spirits. Matthew elaborates a little further

“And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:1‬ ‭

One could make the argument that this was the limit of their power/authorization but yet with special permission, which is what the two disciples were essentially asking Jesus, it was permission to engage by fire from heaven, the disciples could engage beyond the limitations of their established permanent power/authorization.

Peter walked on water for example, this was not part of the initial scope or outline of their power but with permission they could exceed their defined power.

“And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭14:28‬ ‭


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