In Luke 12:51 Jesus asks a question: “Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth?” His answer is startling. “No, I tell you, but rather division!” He goes on to say that families will come to an end because of him. Jesus creates a crisis.
A crisis is not always a bad thing. Crisis comes when an irrevocable decision is forced that leads to deeply divergent destinations. Marriage is a crisis in this sense. "I do" leads to a lifetime commitment together; "I don't" leads in a whole different direction.
Jesus is a crisis. The closer he gets to the cross the more urgent the call to choose to follow or reject him becomes. It seems odd for the "Prince of Peace" to say, "Do not think I have come to bring peace..." Following Jesus instead of conventional wisdom can separate people. It did in Jesus’ day. It does today. Think of the civil rights movement. Think of standing with those who cry out from the margins of the world.
Luther taught in the Small Catechism that baptism led to a daily process of dying and rising; a daily crisis that calls us to cling to the life the Christ offers. The death and resurrection of Jesus reveals a lifelong process that calls us to live in grace or a world of our own making. Remember, the choice we make does not save. The One we choose does.
Lord, help us to risk choosing you even when it risks our peace and comfort, in Christ’s name.
Pax Christi, Pastor Tim Olson
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