Daily Bible Reading Devotional [Luke 12:49-53] November 10, 2017


Not Peace, but Division


Luke 12:49-53

49 “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!

51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52 For from now on in one house there will be five 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.”


Observations & Reflections


Justin-Holmes1.jpgThe passage in Luke 12:49-53 is not a drastic departure from the version in Matthew except that it includes two verses that do not appear in the other gospels.

49 “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!

It’s an interesting passage with and even more interesting phrasing. Jesus says “I would that it were”. This is a strange phrase. In the original Greek Jesus actually uses what appears to be a Hebraic style parallelism, saying,

I came to cast fire on the earth,
and I wish (θέλω εἰ) that it were already kindled!

This style of speak should be nothing new for Jesus, however, we must as ourselves if Jesus is referring to literal fire or the fire as baptism, which is where He moves next in the teaching. I would suggest that the fact that this verse only appears in Luke, that it’s interpreted as referring to the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Luke, among the gospel writers, is the most focused on the work of the Holy Spirit. This is displayed even more in the Book of Acts. It was once said that the Acts of the Apostles should be renamed Acts of the Holy Spirit because of the large role Luke gave to the Spirit.

Jesus is communicating that He wishes the world would have been burned up in the fire of the Holy Spirit and the Kingdom of God. Had He wished to express and apocalyptic fire it would have been followed most likely by more apocalyptic language.

Jesus desire to see the Spirit ablaze in the world is now our task, since He has been taken to be with the father. His dream is now our reality. We must always be aware that we are called to be a flame, bringing light in the darkness.