Luke 12 verses 52-53. “From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, 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 daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
Hostility to God is instinctive in human nature. That is why many feel the need to either invent or adopt religious philosophies which are more tolerant of human beings and less demanding on our conscience. But the Cross of Christ will always, as long as the world endures, be a sign of God’s intolerance of human sinfulness, yet it will also declare his eternal love to human beings. The Cross stands as a great symbol that there is only one way to God, and there will always be only one way – and that is by faith in God’s own appointed Saviour.
Notice our Lord’s reference to ‘fire on earth’ in v 49. This is probably a reference to the fire of division that he would bring. This is because there will always be those who utterly reject Him and his message and therefore there will be division between them and those who do believe. At this time Jesus had been preaching to his generation for approximately two years or more and the time was fast approaching when opposition to him would take a violent turn. The fire Jesus refers to here is a refining fire which would clearly show who his people really were and who were not part of the Kingdom of God.
In the next verse he indicates the distress he would have to undergo as he sought to fulfil the divine plan for human salvation. His sufferings on the Cross, his subsequent resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father, must take place so that all who hear could avail themselves of the good news. But sadly, many will not and so the division is set into society, and so it will be until Jesus returns.
But notice in the verses quoted above, just where this division strikes the hardest. It is not in international relations, bad as that may be, but rather it is in the home, the domestic lives of ordinary families.
How many times have you not read of people being persecuted because they are believers? In some countries to become a Christian is considered a treasonable offence punishable by death. In many homes, wives have suffered beatings for becoming Christians, or family members have been disowned for becoming believers in Jesus. Is it not strange that in our modern world with its great emphasis on tolerance, that so often the one thing that cannot be tolerated is the message of the Gospel?
Christians are often vilified, misreported, and deliberately caricatured in an attempt to discredit the faith. But all this hatred is in vain because the message is eternal. It will not go away. We, who are Christians, are what we are. We will continue to live for him and trust him to vindicate us all, in His time.
Let us determine to so live our lives that we give our detractor no cause for any criticism. May God give us grace to love our enemies and so to glorify His name.