Today’s Thought: Sometimes good messages come wrapped in conflict.
Put no trust in a friend, have no confidence in a loved one; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your embrace; for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; your enemies are members of your own household. (Micah 7:5-6)
In Luke 12, Jesus reveals his frustration. Much like God said when he told Moses that the Israelites were a “stiff-necked people” who wouldn’t listen to him, Jesus says, I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled… Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! Bring division to the earth? How can these be the words and mission of Jesus?
Echoing the words of the prophet Micah, Jesus emphasizes that even family relationships will be divisive and suffer: From now on five in one household will be 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.”
At first it’s almost impossible to believe: Jesus bringing divisiveness. But look back over Luke, as well as the other gospels and Old Testament prophets, and you will find them filled with disagreements arising from Jesus and his message. From the very beginning, Herod, Pharisees, and Sadducees are searching for reasons to stop Jesus from preaching because they fear losing their power. Jesus’s own family suggests that he must be talking out of his head. He even tells his apostles they, too, will be subject to pain and suffering for following him, separated from parts of society.
Jesus knew his message would divide communities, leaders—even families. And, Jesus knew the centrality that suffering and pain would play in the ultimate salvation of the world. In a completely human moment of frustration, Jesus yearns for the pain to pass so he can make room for the peace.
Tuesday Truth: O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth; deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer)