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Friday, August 12, 2016


Luke 12:49-56 reveals the raw emotions of Jesus.WOW, does He have emotions and feelings! Jesus has passion.
I came to throw fire on the earth/land, and how I wish it were already blazing...What is this fire? The word is used of two phenomena in Luke's Gospel. 

First is the "judgment fire"(Luke 3:9, 17) which John the Baptist warns is coming. Recall that the prophet Elijah called down fire to consume the offering in his contest with the false prophet-priests of Baal (1 Kings 18:38) and then also on the companies of soldiers dispatched by King Ahaziah against him (2 Kings 1). However, in 9:54 when James and John ask Jesus if He wanted them to call down fire upon the inhospitable Samaritans, Jesus rebukes them. Is Jesus longing for the final fiery judgment? God made a covenant with Noah, promising never again to destroy the earth with water (Gen 9:8-17). Is fire the next and final judgement? (Revelation 19:9) Fire both purifies and consumes. Cranking up the heat, for example, allows one to burn off the built up debris on a grill. However, the debris is consumed. This is necessary before God can reign on earth. Everything not of God must be purified (burn off impurities) or consumed (those who stand against the Kingdom). Why is there judgment? Because love demands goodness and blessing on the beloved and those who would pollute the Kingdom with sin and rebellion cannot be allowed to remain among those who seek the Kingdom. Peace comes at a cost....

But John also promises a baptism of fire and the Holy Spirit (3:16). In Acts, the Holy Spirit comes like "tongues of fire" and we often pray for the fire of love and the fire of the Holy Spirit. To "be on fire for God" is to be consumed and faithful. Those who seek God (though sinners) are sanctified by the Holy Spirit within. How this takes place is hard to understand, but the Spirit in Jesus will be in us and raise us up. We will be transformed. Jesus is anxious and desires the day when all people love God and one another. In our brokenness we cannot do this, so the Father will send the Spirit to do it within us. Jesus says that He cannot wait!

I have a baptism to be baptized and how I am crushed and stressed until it is completed.
Jesus' "baptism" is His death. Like at the Last Supper (though Jesus tells the disciples not to be troubled in John 14:1, 27)  we read that Jesus is troubled and agitated in John12:27 and 13:21. Later, Luke 22:43 tells us that as Jesus prayed in the Garden "His sweat became like drops of blood," which indicates severe stress []. One overlooked aspect of the Messiah's personal life was the emotional stress and tension He was under as He looked ahead to His sufferings and death. The Lord loves us but still dreads the cost of that love, even as He willingly embraced it.

Human communication is difficult on paper. Facial expressions, tone of voice, body language--these are what give meaning to words. We cannot see Jesus' face or hear His voice. When He says, "Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No I tell you but rather division," what did it sound like? Is this sadness and frustration on His part. Is the division upsetting to Him as He faces rejection? Is He angry or merely declaring a truth? Or all of these?

Jesus is the Prince of Peace, but the Scriptures seem to say its a peace after the storm, and we are living in the storm just as He was. We do know that He sounds frustrated with people who can figure out the weather by looking at the changing sky, but are clueless and oblivious to the Kingdom markers all around. 

Family ties are second to Jesus-ties. In the ancient world submission to the family Patriarch was a given. One's identity and sustenance were completely dependent on the clan. Insiders survived, outsiders found life very treacherous. To embrace Jesus was to embrace outsider status. Cut off from family, one's very self was at risk. Paul used the image of "slave for Christ," and the Christian person was frequently on that social level when they chose Jesus. They often lost everything dear to them. It was like dying (which is why baptism is into the death of Christ)
Jesus confronts us with a life or death choice. The day of decision is today. We cannot be assured of tomorrow. We do not know our personal deadline. Life hangs by a thread. Too many believe Jesus can be dealt with later, nor not at all. Jesus did not seem to think that. Jesus appears to be pretty emotional about it, full of passion! Jesus, the man, God incarnate, churning with every human emotion, struggling like us all to live in this fallen world, hungry for God, ready to do what He needs to do, dreading the pain, hoping and trusting. He loves us with that same fiery passion. He wants us to be with Him with the same emotional intensity. Maybe it's time to respond in kind!

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