49 “I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 “But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished! 51 “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division. Luke 12:49–51 (NAS)
You would think that Jesus came to pour love and acceptance on the people of the earth if one listens to modern preaching. This kind of love they say can melt away all barriers caused by hate and prejudice and we can all live together in harmony and peace. Jesus was a uniter not a divider they say. A lover not a hater. Not so he says. He came to cast fire upon the earth. What?
He goes on to say he wished the match was already struck and tossed into the kindling. But first things first. He needed to bear the sins of the world in order to purify those who would live eternally with him. It is interesting to hear his perspective on the suffering he was soon to face. He was distressed!
What we need is a sermon like that preached by Jonathan Edwards in 1741 in Massachusetts, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” It is said to have been read without histrionics, but the parishioners moaned throughout nonetheless.
Some look at Jesus and think he’d hug those people casting insults against him given the chance. What he’s saying here is that he’ll not be backing down from the entrance requirements. As a result, his message will divide, not unite. It’ll come to the point that family members are pitted against each other. It will not be pretty.
Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. Matthew 10:21
Unless and until the animosity that humankind has toward God is melted away by love for his Son, there will be no peace and love. No acceptance. No real acts of kindness. No true understanding. No empathy. No equality. No living together under one roof.