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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

2/10/2010 Luke 12:49-56 Christ May Divide or Unite Families

(Cain and Abel Titian 1542-44 Venice)
2/10- Lk. 12:49-56 (PP. Mt 10:34-36)

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." 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?

Calvin abridged: We cannot confess Christ without encountering the resistance and hatred of many. The prophets foretold peace under the reign of the messiah. Christ is our peace (Eph. 2:14) with God and with each other. The peace the prophets describe is associated with faith, and has no existence but among the sincere worshippers of God. Christ was exhorting his followers to persevere though a good part of the world be at variance against them. Ministers are sent to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers (Mal 4:6,7). But the wicked break up the ties of this relationship. When Micah deplores that “one’s enemies are those of their own house” (Micah 7:6) it is a terrible and outrageous thing. Every lawful bond of union is confirmed by unity of faith: only Christ forewarns that when this does not happen, they should not be ashamed.

Thoughts: Ideally families are united around Christ who is the perfect bond. But sometimes belief in Christ can be a barrier. I can remember some extended family members at a family reunion calling my parents “goody-two-shoes” because of their dedication to their church. Christ is a stumbling block a barrier for some in their relationship to others. Some feel guilty or second class in the presence of those who are trying to follow Christ. Yet, the strongest Christian recognizes we are saved not because we are better, but solely because of God’s grace. Families may be really united in Christ, or divided over him, but rarely in between.

Prayer: May my heart be true to you, O Lord, and may my family and extended family know you deeply.

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