Tag Archives: Jesus

Fire and swords (Luke 12:49-53)

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Intro: I’m glad Jesus was self-employed, because he definitely would have been referred to HR.

Text:    [Luk 12:49-53 NIV] 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.”

Thesis: Jesus was unafraid to face the challenges this world would present to him and his followers. He knows his actions and truth will bring division and hardship, and he dives in head-first with a full knowledge of the consequences.

Trans: F.F. Bruce’s The Hard Sayings of Jesus devotes three chapters to the first two verses of this passage. The beginning of this section is wrapped in a mystery we get to push through to find the application to our hearts.

Fire and baptism

  1. Context points to preparedness for his “coming” (1st and 2nd)
    1. [Luk 12:40, 56 NIV] 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” … 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?
    2. If this is the interpretation of this passage, then Jesus is anticipating the moment of his glorification (Ascension? Second coming?)
    3. However, he admits that it is not yet to be (already…not yet)
  2. Wider biblical lens points to his crucifixion as a possibility
    1. The Jews acceptance or rejection of Jesus was an eternally divisive issue
    2. Jesus’ claim to be the messiah who would die was a bitter pill to swallow, and itself would set people apart, which also being his fiery baptism
  3. Ultimately, we know:
    1. Jesus was bringing salvation now in preparation for a promised judgement later
      1. a) [Jhn 3:17 NIV] 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
      2. b) [Jhn 5:22 NIV] 22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,
    2. Jesus was inaugurating the fire of the Holy Spirit, which could only come once he left
    3. Jesus was already baptized in water, and is almost definitely prophesying his death here, and how that death would cause division among his people

Trans:  Jesus pulls no punches here. While he usually spoke in parables, and this section is no exception, the intensity of what he and he and his disciples would face was not for hiding.

Division? (In Matthew:) A sword?! – let me start by making it worse

  1. Consider the violent statements already in this chapter: [Luk 12:4-5, 10, 20, 47 NIV] 4 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. … 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. … 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ … 47 “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows.
  2. Look at Jesus in Revelation: [Rev 19:11-16, 21 NIV] 11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords. … 21 The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.
  3. We need to remember that our Lord is the king of heavens armies, the Lord of hosts. He has authority and the might to enforce it. Sometimes, we need a mighty conqueror to be on our side!
  4. That is why it is so much more amazing that he is the price of peace. Hear him:
    1. [Luk 10:5-6 NIV] 5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you.
    2. [Luk 19:42 NIV] 42 “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes.
    3. [Luk 24:36 NIV] 36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
    4. [Jhn 14:27 NIV] 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid
    5. [Jhn 16:33 NIV] 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
    6. [Jhn 20:19, 21, 26 NIV] 19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” … 21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” … 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
  5. What is Jesus’ view when violence comes his way?
    1. [Heb 12:2 NIV] 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
    2. The world seeks to put us to shame. Scorn this shame! You are hidden with Christ in God, seated in heavenly places!

Trans:  If this is who you are, children of the mighty king, how should we face the challenges of this life?

Where is our loyalty?

  1. Persecution is to be expected
    1. Matthew gives some of the answer: [Mat 10:38-39 NIV] 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
    2. [Jhn 16:2 NIV] 2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.
  2. This is not about seeking out division and conflict
    1. [Mic 7:4, 6-7 NIV] 4 The best of them is like a brier, the most upright worse than a thorn hedge. The day God visits you has come, the day your watchmen sound the alarm. Now is the time of your confusion. … 6 For a son dishonors his father, a daughter rises up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law–a man’s enemies are the members of his own household. 7 But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.
    2. Consider this direction: [1Co 7:13 NIV] 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him
    3. [Rom 12:18, 21 NIV] 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. … 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
  3. Are you prepared to be a fool for Christ?
    1. [1Co 4:10-13 NIV] 10 We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! 11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world–right up to this moment.
    2. [1Co 3:18-19, 23 NIV] 18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; … 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.
    3. [1Co 1:18-20, 25, 27 NIV] 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” 20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? … 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. … 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

Trans:  Are you already a fool for Christ? Are you ready to pursue this calling?

Conclusion:

  • Do you feel foolish for expressing your faith? Then you’re probably doing something right.
    • There is a difference between criticism from “outside” vs. “inside”
  • Do you feel the condemnation of Jesus’ fiery judgment? Then, remember that you are called to be “in” him.
  • Are you concerned with violence and intolerance? Remember that the truth is intolerant but leads to life.

 

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Be Good Dirt (Luke 8:4-15)

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“And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:4-15 ESV)

“As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” (Matthew 13:23 ESV)

“But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” (Mark 4:20 ESV)

  1. Hear the word – Jesus himself is the word. His words reveal the Father.
    1. Be around it
    2. Be open to it
    3. Be attentive to it
  2. Accept, understand, and hold fast to it
    1. Accept – the appropriate response to “are these your kids?”, identify as your own
    2. Understand – put it together in your mind, common word of Jesus
    3. Hold fast – anchor on
  3. Prepare yourself with an honest and good heart
    1. (ESV) Luke 6:45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
    2. (ESV) Psalms 51:6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
    3. Honesty about transgression and a willingness to be benevolent
  4. Bear fruit with patience
    1. Fruit of godly character, fruit = works, “fruit of righteousness”, peacemaking, Jesus loves to talk about
    2. (ESV) Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness
    3. (ESV) John 15:8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
    4. Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. (James 5:7, 8 ESV)
    5. He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful. All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith.
      Grace be with you all. (Titus 3:5, 8-15 ESV)
  5. The good soil is prepared by being open and available to receive the seed. It holds on tight to and claims the seed it is given. It has already been filled with nutrients and made prime for growth. It is willing to bear fruit despite the work and self sacrifice necessary.

Son of Abraham, Son of God

To get this blog going again, I will be re-posting some of the most popular theology material from my former blog. This is from October 2008.

With my 7th grade class this week we were discussing the life of Abraham and his faith in God. I find it incredible that he remained faithful to God so much throughout his life. There was one particular aspect of his decisions and actions that caught my attention today.

Abram’s name meant father, yet at 99 years old he had no children. God chose to reverse this irony by giving him a child in his old age. So at the age of 90, Abraham’s wife gave birth to Isaac. Abram’s name was changed to Abraham as he was to be the father of many nations. Isaac was God’s provision of that promise.

However, there came a time in Abraham’s life that God told him to sacrifice his son. This was before the Law of Moses that prohibited such actions. God was commanding Abraham to cut off his link to God’s promise. The father was to become fatherless again.

Yet Abraham was not disobedient. He offered his one and only son as a sacrifice to God, and as a reward for his faith and action, God provided an alternate sacrifice.

Not only did God provide a ram in the bushes for Abraham, but he later provided a sacrifice to us. God gave Abraham a child and asked him to give the child up. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his one and only child. It was through that child that a tribe named Judah arose, and it was from the tribe of Judah that a man named Jesus came for the people of Israel.

Abraham gave his only son for God. God gave his only son for the people of Abraham.

God will not require from us anything He Himself is unwilling to do.