Reading: Luke 12: 49-53
Love is patient, love is kind. Love is not rude, love is not easily angered. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. These words from 1 Corinthians 13 seem so appropriate when we consider today’s passage. Jesus’ words today seem harsh and challenging. “I have come to bring fire to the earth” sounds ominous and destructive at first. He states He came not to bring peace but to bring division. The passage ends telling of the hardest division: the division of families.
I come not to be served but to be served. Let me wash your feet. Love thine enemies. How can Jesus speak these words elsewhere in the Bible and then say He came to divide families? While all Jesus did and said was based on love, He knew that not all would choose to follow Him. Jesus knew that many would reject Him. He also knew the choice to declare Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior was a personal and individual choice. Because of all this, Jesus knew division would come as we each make our own decision concerning following Him.
The dividing line between follower and nonfollower is sharp. As followers of Christ we are called to a radical life of love, self-sacrifice, and absolute dedication to our faith. One cannot be half way dedicated to following Jesus – lukewarm is not following. So Jesus knew this decision would cut across family lines, through friendships, and would come to define where we stand and who we are.
Over this reality we cast love. The great commission calls us to go forth to make disciples of all peoples. Our faith calls us to go forth in love, as Jesus went forth. Just as He loved the outcast, the sinner, the anyone, so too are we to love all we meet. In doing so we become the conduit through which Christ’s love reaches others. It is a love that conquers all fear, doubt, hate, mistrust. It is a love for all people. Perhaps this is the fire Jesus wants to bring – His love spreading like wildfire across the communities in which we live. Today may we cast out love.