“I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, 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 her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
Luke 12:49–53, ESV
Christianity is an exclusive faith. Some may be surprised by that statement. In our age of inclusivity, it is hard to understand this reality. We like to think that everyone will be saved, and we want to preach and teach about a Jesus that all will embrace. However, the buddy Jesus is not the Jesus found within Scripture. Jesus was not a community organizer. He came to heal and restore the broken. He came for the poor and the oppressed. He calls us to care for the widow and the orphan. He reminds us to visit the imprisoned and the outcast. Yet, not all of these will come to a saving faith, and their status in the world does not guarantee them salvation. Our faith will divide those caught up in the world from those caught up in Christ. We are to be in the world but not of the world. This reality was true at the time of Jesus and remains true today. Not all of those who were fed by Jesus with the multiplying of the bread and the fish were guaranteed salvation. The Word reveals that many walked away when given a hard message from Christ. The parable of the seeds that Jesus gave us also points to this truth. Our faith will divide those that wish to be like everyone in this world from those that are called to holiness by Christ our Lord. That is why, in places of oppression where Christianity is not accepted, we find fathers turning over daughter and son, mothers betraying their children and their children’s spouses, and vice versa. Faith in Jesus Christ can be a dangerous faith in this world, but the alternative is much worse in eternity. This is why we proclaim as we do, and the calling is to live into the truth that our Lord gives to us as fully as we can.
Let us pray. I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have kept me this night from all harm and danger, and I ask you to protect me this day also from sin and every evil, that in all I do today, I may please you. For into your hands, I commend myself, my body and soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel watch over me, that the wicked foe have no power over me. Amen.