This is a hard text to swallow. I don't like thinking of Jesus as one who comes to divide. I'm all about unity and collaboration and getting along. But there are times when divisions become necessary. In the US, we are living in a heated time when divisions are bubbling to the surface with passion and fire. People are voicing and expressing their opinions, and the volume is rising. And I think it's good.
Without the conflicts, the disagreements, the heated debates, nothing will ever change. And we are most certainly not living in a perfect world. Things have to change. People on opposing sides from me my have different ideas of what needs to change and how to change it, but we all agree the status quo is no longer working. I believe we will come out the other side of this in a better place. We will all have a better understanding of one another. We will be more tolerant and accepting of people unlike us. We will have policy changes that are good for everyone. But until then, we experience the pain of division. We can take it. Growing pains.
“I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; 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.”
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. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens. 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? “And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? 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. I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.”