Words of Faith 9-13-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.  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."
Jesus brings the fire of judgment, purification and power. He also brings a distress that is only relieved by His work on the cross. But Jesus is also clear that He brings division.
"Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 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."
Jesus came to bring peace but not necessarily peace on earth or at least not immediately. At the time of Jesus, many expected Messiah to overthrow the Roman oppression and establish an earthly Kingdom of God. There had been the Pax Romana, the peace of Rome, but it came as the result of terrible conquest and brutal oppression. The Pax Romana was maintained by brutal fear. Jesus was not coming to establish a "different" Pax Romana.
"My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. . ." For the immediate time the coming of Jesus was anything but peaceful. The early church was a history of division and persecution. There was peace but only between people who have found peace with God. Otherwise, there is division.
In the early church most families were divided immediately by Jesus. Choices had to be made. Allegiances were questioned. It is really no different today. Most of us have experienced some division because of Jesus. It may have been an old friend who thinks you are now a religious kook or family members who simply do not understand why you choose to go to church more than the obligatory two Sundays per year. It may be a coworker who resents your focus upon God or may even resent the peace that they sense in you! The arrival of Jesus disturbs any system.
Now, don't misunderstand. This is one of those texts that have been misused by religious sects and cults. Jesus does not suggest that you should divide yourself from your family. Jesus does NOT say that you should create division. If there is any division Jesus will cause it and if there is to be healing, Jesus will heal it.
Luke shows us clearly that Jesus is a realist. He wants us to understand that yes, there is peace. There is a peace that slowly invades our families and communities. But that peace only comes with transformation. That peace only come after there is peace with God. On the way toward that peace, Jesus will disturb people. He will disturb families and work places. He will disturb neighborhoods and communities. He will disturb governments and peoples. It is a symptom of sin to be disturbed when confronted by the Truth.
So don't create division but don't be surprised when it comes along. If Jesus comes into our lives and nothing is disturbed in the relationships of our life, what does that say? If we just get along as the same old person and old friends and family members see no difference, what does that say?
Of course families divide. Jesus is very threatening to families. If one member comes to know Jesus and changes their life, it brings a conviction of the Holy Spirit into that family. This conviction can only be resolved fully if the family finds peace with God. If a family member begins to devote a great deal of time, energy or financial resources to Christ, that is also threatening.
When Jesus arrives there will be some fire. There will be some distress. There will be some division. But there will be a peace. Not Peace on earth, at least not yet, but peace in our hearts. That peace will carry us through any difficulty.
Where are you today in your walk with God? Has Jesus come into your life? Or has He come near to you? I wish I could promise that when Jesus comes in, all your problems would be solved and over. The truth is that Jesus brings a disturbing fire to your life. Jesus brings a distress that is not resolved until we find completion in Him. There is a peace within, a peace with God not as the world gives. But, in all likelihood, Jesus brings division in many places in our lives.
Lord, help me to see and understand the division that comes because of You. Help me to know how to respond to division that is right and holy. Help me not to be divisive in my own flesh. Show me how to be a peacemaker. In Jesus' name.