It is possible for you and I to develop a concept of Jesus that does not reflect who he truly is. Often it is a picture of a Jesus who is nice and loving. The farthest thing from our minds is a Jesus who is radical and direct. That makes us feel uncomfortable. We don’t know how to handle that type of Jesus.
Yet, that is the type of Jesus that the writer Luke is presenting us in his gospel. In chapter twelve, he records some words of Jesus that should make us feel very uncomfortable.
“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.” (Luke 12:49-52 NKJV)
Maybe, your first thought is “There must be some mistake! That doesn’t sound like Jesus I know.” Yet it is. Jesus is making very direct statements about his true feelings concerning the world and the task that he must complete. Think about what he is saying.
1. Jesus brings judgment.
Jesus tells his listeners that he came to send fire on the earth. Fire is often a biblical picture of judgment. So in essence, he is stating that he came to bring judgment on the earth. He even goes so far as to state that he wished this judgment was already “kindled” or “being passed.” He hates our sin. We need to get a grip on that fact alone.
2. Jesus anticipates the cross.
While he wants judgment to come on this sinful world, Jesus shares an important “but.” He states, “But I have a baptism to be baptized with…” This baptism refers to his cruel death on a cross. Basically he is saying, “I wish judgment would come on this wicked world, but I have to be killed on a cross for its sin.” He knows the price he must pay for our sins.
3. This is serious.
Jesus expresses his true feelings concerning the cross that awaits him. He states, “how distressed I am till it is accomplished.” It is serious business. Yes, he wants judgment to come for “our sins.” But he is going to endure a cruel death for them. This is serious business.
4. Jesus came to divide.
It is nice to think that Jesus wants everyone to be happy and to get along. But nothing could be farther from the truth. Listen to his words: “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division.” Jesus divides people. He is going to draw a reaction from people. Not everyone is going to like this Jesus. In fact, Jesus states that this is what is going to happen.
So what does this radical and direct picture of Jesus mean for you and I. Simply put, it is time to get serious about our relationship with Jesus Christ. According to Jesus, our sins deserved to be judged. We deserved to die for them. But He went to a cross to die in our place. Not everyone is going to accept that. It will draw a reaction. It will divide people. So it is time to get serious about our faith. Are you serious?
We would love to know your thoughts, please feel free to comment for the encouragement of others who are on the Journey.
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