Saturday 13 August 2022


Luke12 v 49-56

            I havecome  come to  set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning.

         The sayings of Jesus in this passage, explain things in the Church, as well as those outside the Church.  Jesus came to bring salvation, but his coming also brought division. Some people were ready to follow him, but many did not follow  him. The same situation exists now, as I expect it has through the ages.  This means  we have fewer people attending our Churches, a small percentage of the population

   Jesus lived a humble life for thirty three years, before dying an agony filled death. We should strive to recognize he saved many from going to hell. His zeal is an example for all his people. This verse shows how hopeless it is to find peace and harmony, when the gospel is not preached as it is meant to be.  Jesus came to save people, and call them to God, and he came in peace, but knew he would cause division.  This I expect has been happening through the ages, and is something happening in our Churches in its present age, and we see the effects it has made clearly.

In Jewish thought, fire meant judgement, and expected God to judge in nations a less favourable way  than to them, his special people  As a Jew he could not imagine himself, being Judge by God. Jesus was portraying an image, and he came not with a fanfare, Jesus was thought to be struggling.  The Cross lay before him, and he would give his life as a ransom for many.

           The Jews get rain from the Mediterranean sea, and when the clouds were forming, it was then known bad weather was coming.  Jesus told them they were hypocrites as they could read the signs of the weather, but couldn’t see he was telling them the Kingdom of God was coming.

         I have a horrible baptism of suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until is it’s accomplished.

             Jesus spoke of the baptism he had to face, one of suffering and agony, wounds  with Cross to be carried. He said he would have to go on until it was finished, he never contemplated giving up. He was ready to do the things to attain redemption for his people. He would open the door to reveal God’s glory to a lost world.  His sacrifices would provide a fountain for sin and uncleanness.  Let us all be aware that all his sufferings were on our behalf, and he endured such pain willingly. He could have escaped them, so let us his followers,  react accordingly, and avoid giving up to care for ourselves.

             He described his baptism of fire to face, which was a heavy burden to carry and he would go on suffering until it happened.  He was foreseeing his way to the Cross. God’s wrath would be placed on hm in the place of mankind, and he would be put to death, but he would earnestly follow the plan,  God had made for him.  The crowd had no spiritual feeling for him, and such was their hypocrisy, they didn’t really appreciate the fire and baptism enforces.

          Fire was seen as a sign of judgement, but also a sign of purification. The Old Testament prophet Malachi, in prophesying the coming of Jesus, stated, he will be like a blazing fire that refines metal.  Fire was used to refine silver and metal, and remove all uncleanness so that the metal was bright and pure.

           Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No I have come to divide people against each other. From now on, families will be split apart, three, in favor of me, and two against, or two in favor and three against.  Father will be divided against son, and son against father. Mother against daughter, and daughter against mother, and mother-in-law against daughter=in -law. and daughter-in law against mother-in-law.

          How true this has been proved, quite widely.  Young people going to Church or bible studies, and fathers especially, objecting furiously, fearing the boy will become interested in religion. Mothers not liking daughters going to Church in case they lose some control of them.  I have witnessed this happening in real life. But the most serious disputes have been when men have objected to their wives attending Church.  This can be very sad.  I had a lady who joined my Church, who had a captive personality. She had not been to Church on a regular basis, but once she came among us, was really touched by the Bible stories. She was popular on the school run, so brought quite a few young mothers with their children. Her enthusiasm led to her forming a Bible study class in her home, one night each week.  Her husband worked on an oil rig and was away from home for periods of weeks. One night he telephoned her when her class was met, and heard voices and demanded to know who she was with. When she explained it was a church meeting, he told her to pack the church in right away, he gave her a choice,either to leave he church or leave him, and he would take custody of the two children. She was very sad, and asked me to understand she feared for her children and would have to leave.  There was no justification for him to do that, his wife had a mixed group of older men and women, and there was no suggestion or probability of her doing any wrong.

.            Such I regret to say is a common attitude with a lot of men, and shows bigotry, stupidity, and sheer wickedness. I rest assured he will find it was a bad move, and that heavenly forces are more powerful than him.

             We do witness unpleasantness when a Protestant meets a Roman Catholic of the opposite sex and want to marry. I served in Merseyside where the two faiths are strongly at odds. But with care and faith things can be sorted out.  I had a Church of England young man come to see me about marrying a Catholic from another city, and wondered if I would allow her priest to give the final blessing. The priest came, and we met in perfect harmony. We agreed to do all the wedding service together, sharing the making of vows and giving the blessing together. Both families, whilst surprised at our move, were delighted and it made the families rejoice together. It is utterly ridiculous for Christians to reject each other, especially at priestly level, and things can go even more happily and blessed when we show willingness.            A time will come when there will be no division, and we shall all be of one mind. This will be when Jesus returns and crushes all division.


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