“Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, 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 daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” ~Jesus.
Wait, what? What about the Christmas carols and ‘peace on earth, goodwill to men’?
Then what in the world is this about division, coming from the very mouth of Jesus Christ? Which is it then? Is it Charlie Brown’s Christmas or is it…Jesus Christ’s? If this is His birthday we are celebrating we have to reconcile with His words, His blessings and His warnings, do we not?
Why does Jesus say He brings division? Because knowing Him, choosing Him, following Him, forsaking everything else in the world for Him looks like complete foolishness to the rest of the world, even to family. Because when a heart turns to Him, that heart wants nothing more than to share Him, and it’s a sickening pit in your stomach to see anyone, especially those you love, reject Him. It cuts to the heart.
Why? Because if you read the Book, believe it and hold it to be true, then you have to hold what He warns to be true. There will be a place of eternal life, and a place of eternal death. A place bathed in light, glory, peace and joy, and a place cloaked in darkness, destruction, war and sadness.
A man can lift up most anything in the place of Christ. It can be money, his possessions, his legacy, his accomplishments, his family, his health or even his own brilliant mind.
But all of those things I have witnessed can and will be taken, eventually brought low and returned to the dust from which they came.
Our solution rests in Christ alone. His Words, His righteousness, His act of love upon the cross and our response to that act, will be all that serves to lift us up in the end. Therein lies the division that Jesus was talking about. Some will believe and some will not. Some will accept His truth and some will reject Him. While it is a sweetness greater than the purest of honey to our lips, it is sour and sickening as bile in our stomachs to know what awaits our brothers, our fathers, our family and friends, even our enemies who choose not to see. The object of Jesus’ coming is peace, but the effect of His coming is this deep canyon of division that He desires to reconcile with us today.
So is there any good news? Is there any hallelujah, joy to the word?
Absolutely. Because if you are still reading this, then you are still here. You are still breathing. You are still on this side of a decision that could affect the rest of your life, your children’s lives, and your legacy. There is still time, and because there is time, there is hope.
“There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” ~Jesus