Luke 12:49-53 ESV
“I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They 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.”
Why Jesus Came
Jesus Christ did not teach the kind of gospel which is largely being taught today. His gospel was not “light and fluffy.” His gospel did not appeal to human flesh, nor did it placate people in their sins. His gospel did not teach a grace which merely forgave sin so people could go to heaven, either.
Jesus taught that following after him means that we die to our old lives of living for sin and self, that we make a spiritual U-turn with our lives, of the Spirit of God, and that we now walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, while yielding to him as Lord (master) of our lives.
He certainly did not teach a gospel which was on friendly terms with the world, or which taught that we must immerse ourselves in today’s culture in order to relate to the people of the world. He taught separation from the world and holy living, not continuing in sin guilt-free.
And he was not this person voted “most popular” whom everyone loved and admired for his charismatic personality. He was not a smooth talker. He wasn’t charming. He wasn’t someone who cracked jokes to entertain everyone, either. He was dead serious about his message.
Jesus didn’t come to the earth to make everyone like him. If he did, they wouldn’t have crucified him on a cross. He came to tell them the truth, whether they liked it or not, and he came to die on that cross so that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness.
Jesus went through that horrible death on that cross, not just to forgive us our sins, but to eradicate sin from our lives, but not just to remove the punishment of it, but to remove our bondage to it. He came to put sin to death in our lives so we would now walk in righteousness and holiness.
Peace or Division?
Many people paint this unrealistic picture of Jesus as this meek and mild man who just went around doing good to everyone. Yes, he healed the sick and afflicted, raised the dead, delivered from demons, and comforted the sorrowful, but he spoke truth into people’s lives, and he was hated for it.
Jesus did not teach the Christian life as this life of ease and comfort, either, nor of Christians getting together just to have a good time and to crack jokes, and to play games, and to watch movies and to talk about everything in this world, but to not talk about him.
Jesus also did not teach that we can believe in him, be forgiven of our sins, go to heaven when we die, that nothing can take that away from us, and that we can continue living in deliberate and habitual sin against him, while claiming that God’s grace covers it all.
Jesus taught a crucified life which meant leaving our old lives behind us to follow him in obedience to his commands, and to do what he says to do, to go wherever he sends us, and to say whatever he gives us to say, even if we are hated and persecuted for it in return.
And he taught that if we follow him with our lives wholeheartedly, and if he truly is owner and master of our lives, and we are teaching what he taught, that we are going to be hated, not loved by everyone. And he taught that we will be treated like he was treated, even put to death for our faith.
So, the Christian life that he taught does not “make nice” with the world, but if offends the world because it speaks of holiness, righteousness, and forsaking sins to follow Jesus in obedience. And the flesh of humans resists that and fights against it because the flesh doesn’t want to let go.
So, when we decide to go with Jesus 100%, and we do and say the kinds of things he did and said, people are going to turn against us, even people from our own households, from our own families, from our church fellowships, and from our neighborhoods, etc.
I remember, after the death of a particular pastor’s wife, how so many people described her as a fine Christian woman because everyone loved her. But does that make us fine Christians just because everyone loves us? No! For, if everyone loves us, we aren’t “rocking any boats.”
Persecuted for Righteousness
If Jesus came, not to bring peace, but division, and to turn our family members against us because of our walks of faith, and if the Scriptures teach that the world should not love us as its own, because Jesus called us out of the world, but that we should be hated as he was, something is wrong with our Christian lives if everyone loves us.
We are to stand out as different. We are not to blend in with the world. We are to be going against the flow, and we are not to be going along with what the majority says. We should be walking the narrow road which few travel but which leads to righteousness and to eternal life with God.
On social media, there should be few who genuinely follow us and who respond to our posts if we are posting Scripture (not just the ones that make everyone feel good) and if we are teaching what the Scriptures teach in their fulness and in context.
And we should be experiencing people avoiding us, not wanting to associate with us, rejecting, hating, and persecuting us, not because we are doing wrong, but because we are following Jesus and because we are living lives which are separate from the world because we are being made to be like Jesus.
Seek the Lord
An Original Work / July 20, 2012
Based off Isaiah 55
“Come to Me all you who thirst; come to waters.
Listen to Me, and eat what’s good today,
And your soul will delight in richest of fare.
Give ear to Me, and you will live.
I have made an eternal covenant with you.
Wash in the blood of the Lamb.”
Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him.
Let the wicked forsake his way, in truth.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will receive mercy.
Freely, God pardons him.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord, our God.
“My word that goes out of My mouth is truthful.
It will not return to Me unfulfilled.
My word will accomplish all that I desire,
And achieve the goal I intend.
You will go in joy and be led forth in peace.
The mountains will burst into song… before you,
And all of the trees clap their hands.”