49 "I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! 51 Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! 52 From now on five in one household will be divided, 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 her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."
Thoughts: Many people have Jesus as a toothless, weak, non-powerful uncaring grandpa. Jesus brings peace to those who seek peace, but for those who seek wickedness, Jesus is judgmental and divisive- even without trying. To those who steal, lie, cheat, commit adultery- it is hard to find Jesus as a friend. There is no peace, Isaiah says, for the wicked. Yet if the wicked repent, Jesus is as welcoming as the father of the Prodigal Son. To those who ignore God to go their own way, Jesus is divisive. A gang member who turns to Jesus is divided from the gang members who are still practicing gang violence. If a family member comes to Christ, but the rest of the family does not practice their faith- that family member is alienated. It is also true if a family member leaves the faith they have divided themselves from the rest of the family. It is difficult to say, but while sometimes family members help faith, sometimes family members get in the way of faith. Our ultimate loyalty is always to our God.
Prayer: Help me, Lord to seek you above all earthly loyalties.
John Calvin abridged: The gospel is compared to a fire because it violently changes the face of things. "A baptism" refers to his death. We are to learn from His example to endure the cross and the trials of life.