Monday, October 31, 2016
Don’t You Get It?
Luke 12:49 “I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! 51 Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! 52 From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; 53 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 12:54 He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain’; and so it happens. 55 And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens. 56 You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
Luke 12:57 “And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? 58 Thus, when you go with your accuser before a magistrate, on the way make an effort to settle the case, or you may be dragged before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer throw you in prison. 59 I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.”
To follow after Jesus is to walk in radical faith. That radical faith will not make people comfortable for it will be counter-cultural. Households will be divided for there will be those who will follow the way of Jesus and others who will not. In the meantime people will find excuses for their behavior and will not want to take responsibility. Jesus is asking the people, “don’t you get it?” His message is clear — just as clear as the signs of the times.
Jesus reminds his listeners that they are able to forecast the weather because they know how to read the signs. Their hypocritical behavior comes, not from their inability to read the spiritual signs, but their refusal to do so. Just to help them understand things more clearly — to help them get it — Jesus gives them one more example. If you can read the signs and know that you are going to jail wouldn’t you try and cut a deal before you got there? Jesus is offering them the deal because he knows a day of judgement will finally come. It’s a wake-up call for the people to pay attention to the signs that he is giving them on a daily basis. He is giving all of humanity a chance to be saved. He seems to be crying out, “don’t you get it?”
The truth of the gospel is powerful and challenging. Complacency leads to hypocrisy which will be the death of us if we are lulled into indifference.
Sometimes it seems as if the clamor of this world is trying to drown out the truth of the Gospel. The noise which drowns out the good news is often found in the busyness of our daily lives. The people of Jesus’ day were busy going about the ordinary activities of life and didn’t want to bothered with a call to life in the kingdom. The sad part was that so many didn’t get it. Even when confronted with the reality of the Messiah — they refused to see him for who he really was.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. These days we have better weather forecasters than they did in Jesus’ time. Think of all the radar and equipment and education which meteorologists have to help them forecast the weather for us. The spiritual signs of the times can be just as clearly forecast. Stop being lulled by the noise of this world and turn toward Jesus. The call is to a wholehearted commitment to follow Jesus in a radical relationship with him that will not make others happy. The Gospel will bring division between God’s people and the world. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. Following Jesus was never meant to bring us into the mainstream of society.
The signs of the times are written in the sky, or the news headlines of our day. But, don’t we get it? Our answers and our salvation will never come from feeling secure in the secular structures of our day. The signs are pointing to a sharp distinction between Christ-followers and the world. The world will not embrace the radically transformed lifestyle of a Christian. It is like a burning fire which creates division in a family. God’s love is a consuming fire which burns away that which cannot exist in God’s holy presence. Don’t you get it — we are called to be transformed into the image of Christ and to be his holy people. Living as God’s holy people will not be compatible with the values of the world. These are the signs of the times and we can see the storm clouds coming. We are challenged to respond to the signs. Don’t you get it? We either have to be all in, or all out for Jesus.
Lord, please help me to live all in for you today. Amen.