3D Devotional 8.13.19

3D 8/13/2019
Luke 12:49-56 New King James Version (NKJV)
Christ Brings Division
49  "I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But  I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is  accomplished! 51  Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all,  but rather division. 52  For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. 53  Father will be divided 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 her mother-in-law."Discern the Time 54 Then He also said to the multitudes,  "Whenever you see a cloud rising out of the west, immediately you say, 'A shower is coming'; and so it is. 55 And when you see the  south wind blow, you say, 'There will be hot weather'; and there is. 56 Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern  this time?

This is one of those passages that is not easy to hear. It is not a very comforting thought that Jesus came to send "fire on the earth" nor do we want to consider ourselves separated from those that are close to us.Fire is a powerful force that can change things and reshape them and it can also destroy. It might seem unusual, but there are several places in the Bible where the imagery of fire is used. God spoke to Moses from a burning bush (Exodus 3:1-3). God's presence is represented as a Pillar of Fire in Exodus 13:17-22 and in the tongues of fire at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). Zachariah (13:9) and Malachi (3:2-3) speak of God's purification by fire of the Israelites, like a refiner purifies silver. Satan and his army are consumed by fire in Revelation 20:7-10. In today's passage, Jesus uses the image of fire to teach his disciples of a division that is a result of the purifying fire he bears. Jesus is preparing his followers for the things that are to come and we must prepare also.

If you are a committed follower of Jesus Christ, then it is likely that at some point in your life it has separated you from your acquaintances, friends or even family and set you apart. It is likely that you will face that division again.  We are called by Jesus to be set apart.  This is the discord and division that Jesus is talking about in the passage above. Each day we have the opportunity to make choices to love and glorify him in the things that we do and say, in the way that we stand for truth and justice and in the way that we love others. In those moments, will we stand with Jesus?  Will we choose to share his love and mercy?  In the face of being "set apart" will we turn away from those in need, or will we have the courage to be separated from the world as we choose to follow Him?

In the second portion of the passage, Jesus speaks to the crowds of people about recognizing changes in the weather and shifting winds and asks why the people cannot see the changes that he is bringing--through his teachings and through his love and mercy and ultimately by his crucifixion.  

Lord, Set our hearts on fire with your love so that we may answer your call, walk in your paths and welcome your coming again. Amen.

Sheila Freeman

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