Going Deeper 8-16-2019

The Gospel reading for Pentecost 10...
Luke 12:49-56   "I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!  I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed!  Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth?  No, I tell you, but rather division!  From now on five in one household will be divided, 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 her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."  He also said to the crowds, "When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain'; and so it happens.  And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat'; and it happens.  You hypocrites!  You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?"

​What do we do with this harsh and confusing text?  Well, the first thing we must always do in trying to understanding the meaning of any section of Scripture is to understand its context, its "then & there" meaning.  This must be done before being able to apply it to our own setting.


Luke 12 starts off saying that a crowd of many thousands had gathered to hear Jesus.  In this final section of the long chapter Jesus is addressing "the crowds" and is offering a type of predicting prophesy: the coming of His kingdom would bring division.  Those who would convert to following Jesus would do so at the very real risk of being cut off from their families.  And that is exactly what happened to the earliest Christians.  This is a kind of "reality check" for those who were serious about following Jesus-- a painful price would be paid.

 

Jesus then addresses the entire crowd and chastises those who have not understood the miraculous signs Jesus had done to this point.  The Messiah and messianic age had arrived, as foretold by the prophets... and many were missing the point, caught up in the excitement of following a miracle-worker.  Jesus has come to bring more than miracles-- He came to bring radical changes.  And, most of all, He came to save people from something much more vital than just physical suffering or from their political enemies.  He came to save them from sin, death, and the devil.

 

Jesus came to reconcile all of God's children to their Creator/Father and to restore them to their created form.  This is both the "then & there" and "here & now" meaning of this text.  We dare not miss or misinterpret it meaning!

 

With You in Him,


Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."