Tuesday, August 13, 2013

don't just smile politely Jesus came to set you on fire Luke 12:49-56

Its tempting to read the Bible and do anything but listen. When Jesus says,

I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!
it's a good idea to pay attention and not just smile politely to Jesus. The Bible isn't a book we read--the Bible is God's Word: it reads us. It's tempting to just blow right past Jesus assuming we already know what he says. Listen: His words are revolutionary and unsettling. If you think you know what Jesus says listen again,
I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! (Luke 12:49-51 NRSV)
Many people think Jesus is just an all loving guy--and that's true Jesus is all loving. But he loves us so much he wants all people to live on fire. He's not setting us on fire to destroy us--rather Jesus wants us to burn with a fire that purifies, refines, and enlightens. Jesus is the light of the world. He is the one who casts out all darkness. His death on the cross is evidence of his loves for the world. His cross and open grave are the spark that burns into a fire of transform us and our families. Jesus means it when He says,
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.(Luke 12:52-53)
Reading these words it's clear we make a huge mistake confusing Jesus' love for all with God accepting everything we do. Jesus came to ignite people. Who is Jesus to say these kinds things? Every person will answer this question:
  • some deny that he exists—they've answered the question Jesus to them is a nobody
  • some hem and haw at this question—they've heard something about Jesus from somebody somewhere in their past but they don't know that much about Jesus themselves
  • some can tell facts and share some of his stories and values—they are getting to know him
As believers we are becoming more familiar with Jesus. We are getting to know Jesus as our savior and our friend. We know Jesus as somebody alive and active in our lives. Jesus is more than just information and stories and values. Jesus is the person behind the stories who wants us to live on fire with him and for him. He is the one individual in the universe who came not only to teach about love but to love so completely and totally that he could embrace the whole of humanity willing to die for our sin.
Peace and thanks for reading. May God help you burn bright. John

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