Weathering the weather
God, give me strength of conviction and character to stand in the place where the gospel creates a dividing line.
Read LUKE 12:49–59
 “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 what constraint I am under 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.”  He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does.  And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is.  Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?  “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?  As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled on the way, or your adversary may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison.  I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.” Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat warning is contained in these verses?
This passage is a bit like the cannons in the 1812 Overture, or the arrival of the iceberg in the film Titanic. Jesus has been building up steam throughout the chapter, and we can sense something is coming, but this crash is still somewhat of a surprise. Is this a gospel of peace? Nope! It’s a gospel of division (51)! Jesus announces that he has come to bring a baptism of fire to the earth (49). Even families will turn on each other in the heat of the gospel (52,53). Though our times are different, God is still calling us to be his prophetic voice in the world. At that time the country was occupied, and the Pharisees and high priests were blind to see that God was present among them in Jesus. But we too live in a divided world, the gospel being rejected while humanism, corruption, prejudice and worldly gain are pulling nations and families apart. We need to read the signs of the times around us, judge for ourselves what is right (57) and act on it.
Live out the gospel in word and deed even where it will bring division in relationships.
Jesus, I do not want to serve my perception of You, but to see You as You are, both in mercy and holiness.
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