I came to cast fire on the earth ...
“I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five 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.”
The crucifixion and resurrection of Christ have proven to be the most divisive acts of all of history. I wish it were not so but, in many Jewish homes especially, sons and daughters are disowned if they become Christians. A family member naming the name of Jesus is sometimes not welcome in non-Jewish families because of the changes that accompany Christian conversion. Jesus saw this even back then and called it a casting of fire on the earth.
This casting of fire came at a great price to Jesus Christ. In this passage he calls his crucifixion a distressing baptism. I wonder if part of his distress was knowing that his actions would be rejected by many. How strange it is that God himself would come to the earth, do many astounding miracles and teach many amazing things only to be killed in the vilest of fashion as people screamed for him to be crucified. And all of this brought division, not unity, to planet earth.
Help me Lord to reflect you in a world where unity does not always come.