What Jesus Did! 'Fire! Division! Decision!' — Luke 12:49-53

Thursday, August 22, 2019

[Jesus said,] "I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning! I have a terrible baptism of suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished. 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.'"
— Luke 12:49-53 NLT

Key Thought

Jesus demonstrated God's love in so many ways during his earthly ministry. He will also accomplish an incredible blessing of love when he comes to take God's children home to be with him forever. However, the cost of those blessings is high — high for him, high for the Father, and high for those who follow him. Jesus left heaven, came to earth, and died a horrible death to provide these blessings. The Father withheld his power and allowed those he created to do such horrid things to his Son. So we must not be surprised at the powerful language Jesus uses here. His ministry calls for a decision, a radical decision, to be made. Either he is God with us, or he is an impostor. Either he is Christ, God's Messiah and our Savior, or he is delusional. Either he is Lord, King of our hearts and of all creation, or he is a liar. Making a decision about him is divisive. It will divide families and households. It will be politically incorrect because it doesn't allow for alternatives. As Jesus spoke to his disciples, he also speaks to us. If we decide for him, our decision will not make everyone happy and won't lead to everyone's liking us. A passionate disciple of Jesus will not be appreciated by all — maybe not by most — but will surely be appreciated and rewarded by God!

Today's Prayer

Father, please give me the courage to decide to follow Jesus fully. Then, dear Father, please give me the wisdom to know how to deal lovingly with those who cannot accept my decision, my passion, and my discipleship. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Philippians 2:5-11
  • John 15:18
  • 1 John 3:13


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Illustration of Luke 12:49-53 NLT — "I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning!"

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.