Scripture Union Encounter With God 23rd October 2020 Today Message
TODAY’S TOPIC: CONSEQUENCES
Opening Prayer: Lord, the baptism in Your own blood gave us life.
Read LUKE 12:49–59 Not Peace but Division
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.”
Interpreting the Times
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?
Today Scripture Union Encounter With God 23rd October 2020
57 “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?
58 As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled on the way, or your adversary may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. 59 I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”
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“For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17)
Think Further: Scripture Union Encounter With God 23rd October 2020
Things are turning a bit grim. This should not surprise us, as the momentum towards the cross increases. The baptism Jesus has to undergo (50) entails being swallowed up by the waters of death; it is a baptism of suffering, already prefigured in his baptism by John. It is drawing near.
We might do well to understand these verses as ironic. Sometimes in scripture consequences are portrayed as intentions (eg., Isaiah 6:9; Matthew 13:13). It is not that Jesus has deliberately come to divide and to set people against each other, but rather that because of his message they become divided in their loyalties for and against him.
In retrospect this is understood as an inevitable consequence of an overall unwillingness to receive him. It is not intended, but neither is it unforeseen. People are divided about the truth, but this should not dissuade disciples from graciously holding fast to that truth even if, as with Jesus, it involves a price. Belief in Christ some-times comes between people: Jews, Christians, and Muslims for instance. But is that his fault? Pursuing truth and peace at the same time can prove to be uncomfortable, but we should not be discouraged from attempting it.
It is difficult to see how verses 54–56 might follow from this theme. Because the words are addressed to the crowd rather than the disciples, they take the nature of a rebuke for failing to discern the truth, even when it is speaking to them in flesh and blood and staring them in the face. And verses 57–59 sound like an encouragement for adversaries to seek reconciliation urgently rather than to endure the destructive consequences that mutual hostility provokes in a court of law. Christians should sit up and take note of this.
Apply: “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible … live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:17,18)
Closing Prayer: Lord, we understand that following in Your footsteps will bring division, however unwanted it might be. Help us not to waver.
ONE YEAR BIBLE READING PLAN
Jeremiah 40, 41; John 14
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