When you think of Jesus, I’m sure many different pictures come to mind. The healer, the teacher, the Savior, the friend, to name just a few. Today’s reading may give you a different sense, but he’s calling it as it is. He is the divider.
This is probably not a passage we see too often, so we don’t quite believe that “our” Jesus could be actually saying these things. His words are not as uplifting as we are used to. But his message is very helpful.
Didn’t he come to bring peace? We call him the Prince of Peace after all. But it goes deeper than this. When we dig in to the Word, we will see that because of the very nature of Jesus – being fully God and fully human, he is going to ruffle some feathers. He is dividing families. He is angering teachers of the law stuck in their tradition. Some will want to follow him and others will not. Those that follow and trust Jesus will find peace. Those that rebel will find judgment.
When we are reconciled to God, we find peace. No matter what the world can throw our way, knowing “whose” we are brings a sense of peace or contentment amidst the chaos. For those focusing on other gods or putting no trust in our Lord, they will find no true peace. They will continue to seek what they are trying to find, but so long as they refuse to acknowledge Jesus as Lord, peace will evade them.
We get the impression, too, that the time is getting closer for Jesus’ crucifixion, and Jesus knows it. Can you imagine the dread he is feeling? You can probably recall times in your life when you “dreaded” an upcoming task or situation. Magnify that to imagine your gruesome death!
The most important relationship you will ever have in your life is your relationship with Jesus. Friends will come and go, but Jesus is constant. His life giving power, his forgiveness, his grace never end. The eternal is more important than the present. Our creator should have our full attention as opposed to the creation. Think on that for just a moment.
God wants us to get it right. He wants us all in eternity with him. We are given the freedom to discern and the clues are all around us. The answers we should be seeking will always agree with Scripture and God’s expectations. We don’t want to be blind like the Pharisees and the teachers of the law had been. God was in their midst, yet they could not see.
Many experts will surface and try to get us to buy into their truth. That just confirms what Jesus is telling us about division. I know there are some really popular preachers these days, too. They make people feel good. But are they telling the truth? Are their messages in line with Scripture? That’s the true test. Some are just fluff. How do we know? How can we discern? Devour the Word of God.
We need to heed Jesus’ warning here about prison. We need to figure out what is right and wrong. Because once we are judged by the Lord, there is no escape from eternal Hell. We can’t pay for our sins with any acts or good deeds. We must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and apply his payment toward the price of our sin. He is the only way.
Let’s pray. Your wisdom exceeds what my imagination can fathom. Sometimes I really wrestle with your Word and how it is speaking to me. Today I felt a little lost. I know where my allegiance stands, and it feels so wonderful to be securely in your hands. Yet I feel a sense of dread for those who don’t know you, family and friends who may be missing out on the peace you give in reconciliation. Seeds have been planted, and I pray you will continue to send folks to tend to those seeds. May I be the one you send to tend to others’ seeds. Thank you for your peace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.