31 October 2011Luke 12:49-59
"Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No I tell you, but rather division." (v. 51)
These verses are part of the teachings of Jesus to the disciples
and to the crowds who have followed him. In Luke
10:1-12, 70 were sent out into the towns and villages to let
people know that the kingdom of God had come near in the person of
Jesus who would show them the way to live. Some of the 70
experienced peace and were welcomed, while others were rejected and
had to leave. This leads Jesus to reflect on how his mission, his
life and death will bring judgement and division as people are
faced with a choice and a challenge about Jesus.
Today, 2,000 years later the question is still before us when we come face to face with Jesus and the influence of his teachings. Am I willing to try and follow his ways or will I follow someone or something else? And then there's the second question; what sort of kingdom, or community, will my actions bring out?
When we look around at communities in England, as we have done so much this summer, we can clearly see the division between those who seek peace and justice by showing love and compassion and those who are intent on destruction and damage. Although it did not receive much media coverage after the recent riots in London and other cities, communities came together, united, to move beyond the destruction and rebuild. Perhaps those people had had a glimpse of the kingdom of God being present in a small way. Many would not call themselves Christian or people of any faith but some would.
The simple fact is that when knowledge of Jesus is there, decisions have to be made every minute of the day as to how we will live. We always have a choice: to do good or to do harm.
When you need to make a decision about the way to behave, what guides you?
'It puzzles me that I am surrounded by people, who in their very humanity, show signs of living the Jesus way but do not know anything about him.' How do you think that can be?
Is division always something to be avoided? Why?