Prepare to Listen. Be still and ask: Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.
Prayerfully Read Luke 12:49-53
49‘I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! 51Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! 52From now on, five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; 53they 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.’
These verses are disturbing. Jesus came to bring fire, division not peace, we ask?. When misread they’re used to justify division and even violence. I may not like Jesus’ words, but I can’t pick and choose and still live in a faithful, loving relationship with him. Sometimes Jesus said things that sound jarring to our ears.
Those who take these words as justification for division and violence against their enemies have jumped to a dangerous (not merely irresponsible) interpretation. Jesus wasn’t speaking literally, endorsing violence, or giving us a choice between peace and division. He used symbolic images—fire, a common symbol for God’s judgment, baptism as a symbol for the cross. These symbols should alert us to dig deeper and humbly discern Jesus’ meaning.
Peace Jesus’s way isn’t the absence of division or violence, but the disruption of the status quo caused by Jesus’ coming into the world. His words and behavior often caused divisions among hearers who didn’t want to change their minds (repent) about the way things were. Sadly, this still happens today when we refuse to change our minds, clinging to our ideologies and causes that result in division and even violence. Jesus calls us to change and wait in trust and patience for the fulfillment of God’s word. As we wait, heed Paul’s advice: “If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18).
What words caught your attention? How will you then live today?
Respond to Jesus
Lord your words are always challenging and sometimes shocking. Help me live into a deeper understanding of what you meant so that I live in peace, trust and patience for your will to be done. Amen.
Live obediently. As far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
 Matthew’s version that uses the word ‘sword’ not ‘division’ (Mt 10:34).
I began reading my Bible when I was 8 years old. I loved it then (albeit didn't understand much) and I still love reading and studying it. I may understand a little more but I keep learning new stuff, seeing things I missed for years. This journey with Luke during Lent has been another new learning experience for me, deepening my relationship with Jesus. I pray it will do the same for you.