Christ Brings Division

Christians are often likened to an army. We sing “Onward Christian Soldiers” and read, “Put on the whole armor of God.” Imagine Christ reviewing the troops, who are supposed to be fresh and ready for battle. But some have fairly recent wounds, nicks in their … More



In three short passages Jesus characterizes the times. Things are not going to go smoothly. Jesus’ ministry will bring division (vv. 49-53). But anyone who is observant can read the times and know that God is at work (vv. 54-56). Most importantly, the disciples had better settle their spiritual debts with God. A failure to pay up will mean one will pay every last penny (vv. 57-59). The theme of all these statements is the need to understand the time that encompasses Jesus’ ministry. He is not one of many options for knowing God; He is the way.

Jesus came to do God’s will. In his first statement he shows how ready he is to get the job done: “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled (v. 49)! “ This is one of several mission statements Jesus makes. The reference to fire appears to suggest judgment. Division is clearly the result. Sometimes the truth is painful and divides. The judgment work of separation will split families; it will not bring peace. “There will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three.” Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, mothers-in-laws and daughters-in-law will stand on opposite sides of the divide.

Jesus forces choices about what God is doing, and family members will choose differently. Expect division. Jesus now uses two illustrations to let us know the importance of discernment in spiritual matters. First He talks about the weather and says that if people were as discerning about spiritual things as they are about the weather, they would be better off (vv. 54-57). Jesus was announcing an earthshaking event that would be much more important that the year’s crops; the coming of God’s kingdom. But Jesus hears were ignoring the signs of the times. How tragic it is that men today can put a man on the moon; but they are blind to what God is doing in the world.


We read in II Corinthians 6:2, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” It is important that I keep my account settled with the Lord.

Luke 12:49-59 (English Standard Version)

"I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, 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 her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law." He also said to the crowds, "When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, 'A shower is coming.' And so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, 'There will be scorching heat,' and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time? "And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison. I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny."

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