Jesus the Cause of Division Luke 12:49-56
I came to bring fire on this earth. Jesus tells us about the new age he is inaugurating in the world. Fire in the bible is understood to signify the presence of God. A fire that is not destructive but a fire that purifies. Remember the burning bush that Moses saw. Jesus brings such fire of the Gods presence into our hearts. Our Lord tells us of a Baptism referring to his death and his resurrection. In his baptism we are born anew to become a new creation. These words of Jesus help us to understand that he was always prepared for the ultimate task before him, to die on the cross of Calvary. Jesus telling us about the nature of his ministry when he says that I have come not to bring peace but division. We have been listening to passages that tell us about Jesus teaching about judgement and how we need to prepare ourselves for this judgement. Jesus is surely the prince of peace as the prophet Isaiah foretold. However our Lord clarifies that his life and message and ministry will cause division. This may appear to be a surprise at the outset, but this is the reaction and the response to Jesus. Even at the time of his birth people were divided, The shepherds and the Magi accepting the Lordship of Jesus while Herod was so disturbed and troubled about his birth that he ordered the massacre of all two year old children. In his ministry we hear of two sets of people. The ones who accept him and the ones who rejects him. The disciples themselves found themselves divided. The disciples who were chosen by Jesus himself, accepted him and at the same time, he was rejected by Judas. He went on to even join with those opposing Jesus. While great numbers of people kept thronging to listen to Jesus, the Pharisees kept on arguing with Jesus, always rejecting him and seeking to find fault and seeking a basis to put him to death. He states that he has not come to establish peace on earth but to create divisions. The gospel disturbs people and creates an unrest. There is an unrest in ones mind because we make an option to choose God and Gods will and not our own will. People are divided in their response to Jesus, some accept him and wait for him while others reject Jesus as Lord. Accepting Jesus and his message divides the people. Those who want to belong to him and follow him and those who choose not. This is not about going with the flow and what is generally acceptable and what is trendy but to make the choice to stand out and be counted by God. We make the choice on the basis of our own self understanding and the realisation of the need for Jesus.