Monday in the Eighteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Luke 12:49-59

Urgency!

I again ponder how some people view Jesus in ways that paint him and his gospel in sweet pastels, denying the division he brings and the urgency of decision he requires.  You wonder if they have ever even read the gospels.  Here, Jesus makes some remarkable statements about his purpose for coming: “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!”  Jesus was not running away from the cross; he was running to it!  And his person and message is like fire that divides men; it refines those who receive it, and burns up those who reject it.  Jesus even divides the closest of family ties.  Jesus was desperate to fulfill the divine plan which he and his Father established from the beginning, to save a people from their sins and from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10).  God is real; His Son’s passion was real; the gospel message is true; that message divides; some will receive and others reject; those decisions are the difference between eternal life and eternal death; those decisions will necessarily affect our lives as we must reject the things of this world – and the world will not appreciate it.  If you are one who thinks that Jesus came to bring us all together into one big happy family, everyone doing their own thing – please read the gospels for yourself.

Then comes the urgency.  Jesus mocks the hypocrites among the crowd: You are good meteorologists, but you are poor prophets!  The Son of the very God you say you worship is standing before you and you can’t see it.  The gospel that prophets, kings, and priests of olden times longed to hear is preached in your ears, and you can’t discern it.  Open your eyes and ears and plow the parched ground of your hearts.  The Kingdom of God is at hand.  And if it was near then, how much closer must it be today (Romans 13:11).  So the time in which we live is rightly called a time of grace; that is, until he returns, and then comes judgment.  Now is the time to settle accounts.  Yes, even we believers have sins in our lives that must be rooted out before he returns, not because we fear hell, but because we fear shame when we stand before the One who ran to the cross to save us (1 John 2:28).

Jesus cast fire onto the earth; it’s burning and separating people from one another even now; and one day, fire shall be cast onto the earth again (Revelation 8:5), and there shall be a great separation, and many will be cast into the fire (Revelation 20:15).  Sweet pastels, indeed.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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