10th Sunday after Pentecost | August 18, 2019
49 “I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning! 50 I have a terrible baptism of suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished. 51 Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other! 52 From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against—or two in favor and three against.
53 ‘Father will be divided against son
and son against father;
mother against daughter
and daughter against mother;
and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law
and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’”
54 Then Jesus turned to the crowd and said, “When you see clouds beginning to form in the west, you say, ‘Here comes a shower.’ And you are right. 55 When the south wind blows, you say, ‘Today will be a scorcher.’ And it is. 56 You fools! You know how to interpret the weather signs of the earth and sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the present times.
Luke 12:49-56 New Living Translation (NLT)
As I first look at this scripture, it would be hard to say that there is a harder teaching in the scriptures somewhere. This teaching seems harsh for Jesus…but Jesus has preached harsh messages in the past. We often call Jesus the Prince of Peace – and he is, but here He calls himself the great divider – that people will be divided – that people will be fractured because of him. Even families will have different ideas of who Jesus is.
This teaching comes on the heels of Jesus teaching about his return. He reminds his disciples to be ready for his coming. The reason that Jesus comes to divide is because some will believe in His message and others will not. We can see even today that friends and family are divided. Is Jesus really who He says He is? Or is He just a man who claims divinity?
In many ways, Jesus is reminding his followers to be faithful to the message of the Good News of the Kingdom. He tells them that we know the signs of nature and we should be just as attuned to the signs of the Kingdom. It’s a reminder to us that people will disagree simply because we belong to the Lord. They see our walk with the Lord as foolish and wonder why we do it? Sometimes people can get downright hostile toward the Christian life, but once again Jesus reminds us that it is normal – it’s not something that is unusual, but it is a sign of the times – and it has been a sign of the times for 2,000 years and will continue to be a sign of the time until Jesus returns. The question for us is – will we be faithful to the Kingdom of God – will we preach and proclaim the Gospel – the Good News until Jesus returns? We should do our best, but sometimes people will disagree with our message, just as they disagreed with Jesus. Sometimes the Gospel is a stumbling block – let’s just make sure that it’s the Gospel that is a stumbling block and not us.