Hard words. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bumper sticker or Christian T-shirt that read, “Jesus came to send fire on the earth” or “Jesus came to bring division”.
No. We like unity. We like peace. Those T-shirts sell. Those messages grow crowds.
So what do we do when we bump into Luke 12:49-53?
Honestly, I’m tempted to skip right over it. Except. I can’t.
I want to know my Savior.
Truly know Him.
All of Him.
I need the whole counsel of God’s Word.
So when I bump into hard verses like this, I remember what I know to be true about my Savior and dive deeper to study what He means by something that seems harsh or uncharacteristic of Him.
I search trusted commentaries and read what solid teachers may have written. I ask God to help me know Him better and I ask the Holy Spirit to “teach me all things” (John 14:26)…. not just the easy things or the things I find easy to swallow.
So what does Jesus mean by this hard passage, when He says,
“I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:49-53)
Here’s the deal: There are some things you can be neutral on, but Jesus is not one of them.
When you follow Jesus faithfully, it separates you from those who do not.
There will be times others will choose to do things, watch things, support things, vote for things etc., that you simply cannot if you are a follower of Christ.
There will be times when there will be tense moments and times when others will be offended by your choice to follow Christ instead of the world.
Because you aren’t neutral in your faith, there will be times when you will feel like an “alien and stranger” and maybe even around those you call family.
Jesus was upfront about this. There is no neutral.
God warns us in Revelation, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. (3:15-16)
No, there is no neutral in following Christ.
This day may require you to make choices that others aren’t making. Those choices may offend them and cause uncomfortable division and separation. They may argue with you. They may exclude you. And you may feel very much like an alien and a stranger. This is okay!
But the flip side is, if you never feel like an alien or stranger, you may have a greater problem. You may be trying to ride the “neutral fence”. You may be double-minded trying to please God and man.
God tells us through, James, the brother of our Lord, that to be double minded is to be unstable in all your ways. (James 1:8).
Oh friend, when we bump into a hard passages, let’s ask God to examine our hearts.
Let’s choose to follow Christ, even if others are not because His Word is true, His promises, that we cling to, are all true and His children are forever blessed!
Originally written a couple of years ago.
🙏Also, I’ll be speaking this morning at a women’s event with my daughter. I’d so appreciate your prayers. ❤️