Jesus knew His time on earth would be done very soon. He was preparing the people for what lie ahead. He admonished them to pay attention. It is no different, Jesus said, than when you see storm clouds coming in or feel a hot gust of wind blowing up from the south. All life is marked with tell-tale signs. Jesus then reminded the crowds that He did not come to bring peace. He warned them His presence would in fact cause division. It would split families, cause wars, and destroy the established norms. He came to represent the Lord God and draw God’s people back to a personal relationship with the Father. Nothing about that would be easy, safe, or fun. There is little doubt that that message thinned His following. Most of His crowds were there to be fed and entertained. Jesus’s message of division and conflict was not what they signed up for.
We face the same struggle today. Stadiums and arenas are filled with Christians that see God as a saint-like Santa and a provider of joy and fun. But, when faced with adversity and persecution, many flee back to the world and its accoutrements–figuring that is better to stick to what they know. Then and now, God promises there will be adversity and division. The spiritual realm is at war and we are dragged into it by following our Lord. We must not shy away from the adversity, but instead stand firm against it. As Peter told us, “The enemy is a roaring lion, roaming TO and FRO, seeking whom he may devour.” We need to put on the whole armor of God and stand firm as we face the devil and his demons. Ephesians 6. We must stay focused on the Lord and His leadership; and walk with Him gratefully and humbly–until His return. Help me, Lord, to remain faithful, strong, and true; as I walk in your plan.
God Bless You
49 “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! 51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 52 From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
Interpreting the Times
54 He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. 55 And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. 56 Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?
57 “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? 58 As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled on the way, or your adversary may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. 59 I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”