John T. Willis

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Jesus came to bring Division to the Earth--Luke 12:49-59

Many "Hard Sayings" appear in the story of Jesus. One of these is Jesus' announcement that he came to the earth not to bring peace, but to bring division. This appears in Luke 12:49-59. This falls into three parts. I. Jesus declares to the crowds that he came to the earth to bring division. Luke 12:49-53. a. Many people ignore or reject this teaching. We have already made up our minds about the message of Jesus. We assume that since the Bible teaches that God sent Jesus to forgive and save all people, Jesus would never bring punishment and division among human beings. But the message of the Bible still stands. b. Jesus begins by declaring: "I came to bring fire to the earth." The background of the Hebrew Bible shows clearly that a fire is a figure for purification (Leviticus 13:52; Numbers 31:23), for discernment of discrimination (Jeremiah 23:29; Isaiah 33:14), and for judgment (Genesis 19:24; Exodus 9:24; Psalm 66:12; Isaiah 43:2). Luke 3:16 sheds light on the meaning of this figure. Jesus came to punish the wicked and thus purify the hearts of sinful people. 12:49. c. Then Jesus declares that he himself must undergo a baptism, a baptism of testing and his redemptive suffering. The same thought appears in Mark 10:38-39. 12:50. d. Then Jesus declares that he did not come to the earth to bring peace, but division. He will divide households, father against son, son against father, mother against daughter, daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law. This same division derives from Micah 7:5-6. Matthew 10:34-36 is very close to this text. True followers of God must not be surprised that their closest relatives may turn against them because of one's commitment to God through Jesus Christ. 12:51-53. II. Jesus exposes the spiritual insensitiveness of would-be religious people. Luke 12:54-56. a. People know the "signs" of the weather. If a cloud rises in the west, one assumes it is going to rain. Almost all the storms in Israel came from the Mediterranean Sea. 1 Kings 18:46; Psalm 29. If the south wind blows, one assumes there will be scorching heat. In Israel, the wind from the Arabian steppes are in the southeast. Jeremiah 4:11. Thus, everyone knows these "signs." 12:54-55. b. In contrast, religious people frequently do not know the spiritual "signs" of life. Hence, Jesus calls them "Hypocrites." Jesus came on the earth, and many religious people ignored or rejected him (see John 1:11-13). They did not accept his appearance and his message concerning God and the kingdom [rule] of God. Their problem was being unwilling to accept Jesus, not being unable to receive Jesus. "The present time" is the time for repentance and conversion (see Acts 3:19-20; 17:30-31). 12:56. III. Finally, Jesus instructs his true followers to reconcile with their opponents. Luke 12:57-59. a. First, Jesus tells his audience to judge what is right. In this context, this means to work out compromises in life to avoid conflicts. Paul teaches the same truth in 1 Corinthians 6:1-8. 12:57. b. Jesus advises one to make every effort to settle a difference before going into court. Otherwise, that person may go to prison. The same message appears in Matthew 5:25-26. 12:58-59. Share YOUR research, problems, insights, pleas, corrections with others. Let me hear from YOU. John Willis


Post a Comment

<< Home