Luke 12:49-53 – “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
These verses challenge everyone to THINK about WHY Jesus came? Almost everyone loves the popular quotes of Jesus, like His commandment to LOVE ONE ANOTHER. Similarly, His declarations in the Sermon on the Mount, like the Golden Rule, are quite appealing to most people! No one ever spoke more powerfully and righteously than Jesus did! No one ever cared for sick and sinful people like He did! No one ever performed loving healing miracles like He did! Yet, none of those things were the reason He came! The verses in our text move our thinking and understanding out of the nicey, nice, kindness, peace, love and can’t we all just get along perspective! Jesus plainly declares, “I have come to bring fire on the earth…” He makes it plainly known that He came to bring DIVISION – not unity and peace! Thus, with these declarations, Jesus becomes the most controversial person of all time. His truth claims and His suffering, death and resurrection have ignited a fire on this earth that has totally changed the course of human events! The passion and purpose of His life and ministry were to see this fire kindled. The sinful lost condition that exists in every human heart has been exposed by Christ’s coming!
Christ’s improper arrest, His unjust trial, the cruel whipping, the hatred and mocking He endured without a word, His crucifixion, subsequent death and resurrection sparked a fire that has raged on the earth ever since that time! This fire has divided nations, religious communities, relatives and families, as well as those who were once friends! Jesus did not come for the sake of validating and making all religions equal. He did not come to encourage people to adopt an “I’m okay you’re okay” philosophy. He came to show us how sinful sin really is and how wicked our hearts truly are!
Unless our hearts are deeply grieved by the wickedness of our sin and moved by the great price God was willing to pay to save us, then we really don’t appreciate this fire that was kindled 2,000 years ago! You and I were born with a sinful nature, one that we inherited from a long line of sinners dating back to Adam. That nature is bent on rejecting God’s nature and laws! It rejects the claim that we are not good enough or capable of saving ourselves from our sinful nature and its destructive tendency. It’s one that believes the claim that we are all born basically good and that our environment is what corrupts and contaminates us – more education and reform are the answer. The life, death and resurrection of Christ Jesus lit a fire that confronts this truth claim head on and declares it to be a lie! It declares that we are ALL sinners with a death penalty looming over us, and that our only salvation is to believe on His name!
This truth claim from Jesus and the Gospels has divided people over the centuries since that time. As a result of the Gospel message there are those who have readily recognized their rebellious condition toward God, repented and put their faith in Christ as Savior and Lord. Others have rejected Him believing that they don’t need saving or redemption! They are good enough without Christ and the world is fortunate to have them, but they still sometimes like to retain SOME of His teaching as good for society. This has often been lived out with parents and children, in-laws and other family members – just like Jesus said it would! Can you see, if Jesus had never come, this kind of division would never happen! Do you believe that you were born with a sinful heart that needs a Savior? If not, there is a great division between you and those like me who believe the truth claims of Jesus! Even more significantly, there is a great divide between you and Christ, and the fire that was kindled 2,000 years ago continues to rage!
Thursday: Meet together with at least 1 or 2 other believers to enter the Throne Room of Grace.
Friday: Pray for the families of the week: Bonnie Bitetti (Samantha, Denny, Chris), Brandon & Sandy Burtner (Elijah, Eliana), Greg Conibear.
Saturday: Recognize the seriousness of sin!
Sunday: Give thanks that God so loved us sinners that He sent His Son to save us from our sin!
Monday: Realize that this truth claim will bring division to families, friends and neighbors.
Tuesday: Pray for those who have not yet come to acknowledge their need and God’s provision.
Wednesday: Remember that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God – share it!
Prayer Challenge – This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. – 1 John 1:5-10