Jesus is uncharacteristically stern in His lesson recorded in Luke 12:49-56. He warns that He has come to bring division, not peace. I was a little shocked the first time I read that passage, as Jesus is the Prince of Peace, but He has good reason to shock us into listening.
He knows that the time will come when we will be divided over our acceptance or rejection of Him. We are told that “All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.” (Matthew 25:32-33). He is saying that all the other divisions we find among ourselves will be meaningless when this occurs, that at the last day the only thing that counts is our faith in Him.
Jesus grabs our attention with the firmness of this teaching, wanting us to understand how essential this choice is – life or death! Our decision has eternal importance and He wants us to realize our relationship with God is the only thing that will matter when He returns for us. He has promised to come back again; will we be ready?
Gracious God, You sent Jesus to teach us and show us how important it is to have a connection toYou. Help us to follow His example, loving You and our neighbors, and sharing the joy of the Good News with everyone. Amen.