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)

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