The Gospel for the day is Luke 12:49–56. Our devotion comes from Meditations on the Gospels: According to His Word.
Hebrews 11:17–31 (32–40); 12:1–3
Luke 12:49–53 (54–56)
Read the propers for the day in Lutheran Service Builder.
Jesus had warned His disciples against worry and anxiety and the paralyzing effect these feelings have on the spiritual life. In the parables of the watchful servants, He admonished them in all the business of this life to focus on things of eternal value and, therefore, to be prepared for the Lord’s return.
He had answered Peter’s question about whether these parables applied to them, too, by telling him that they did. In fact, the parables applied to them especially, since much would be required of those to whom so much had been given.
Now, Jesus bids them to look at the matter from a different angle. His disciples will really have no time to waste on such frivolities as this world’s goods. Their lives will not run smoothly and quietly while they wait for their Lord’s return. There will be conflict and tumult, and they will be deeply involved in it. …
[In today’s Gospel], Jesus introduces His disciples to a situation that was apparent then and has been ever since, that wherever Jesus appears, there is division and strife. This situation is to this day one of the chief causes of offense to non-Christians and even to many Christians.
But it shouldn’t surprise or offend us. Simeon foretold it when the Christ Child was but six weeks old, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed” (Luke 2:34). Even at that early date, the shadow of the cross fell across His path, and so it was throughout His life.
At His first appearance in His hometown, Nazareth, a few believed in Him, but the others wanted to throw Him off a cliff. The struggle grew ever more intense until three years later Jesus hung on the cross; a few faithful huddled near, in fear and trembling, but the great majority jeered at Him.
So it is today. Ask any missionary—people live in relative peace until the Gospel of Christ is preached, then they divide, for Him or against.
Here Jesus tells us that this must be so. Since the fall of man, there is a terrible union on earth; all people are by nature the slaves of sin and destined for eternal damnation. Jesus came and with His life and death brought redemption to sinners.
He offers this redemption to all people. Some accept it, many do not, and there is the division. It seems logical that all people would welcome and gratefully accept their release from bondage and the wrath of God. But the awful thing is that people love sin, and the majority do not want to be removed from their life of sin. So they reject the Savior and even fight against Him. And behind it all is Satan, who does not want his work destroyed.
Thank God for this division! How terrible if Christ, foreseeing this division, had decided not to redeem man, or, foreseeing that so many would not accept the Gospel, had decided it was not worthwhile to have it preached to us!
In the face of all opposition, He designed a perfect redemption for us. And even now He is not discouraged by the ingratitude of men but continues to send out His Gospel call into the world. He considers not those who reject and oppose Him and His work, but those who joyfully and gratefully receive Him.
Hymn is "Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word" from Twenty-Seven Hymn Harmonizations for Reformation by Henry V. Gerike, © 2016 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Devotion is adapted from Meditations on the Gospels: According to His Word, pages 536–38, © 2009 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.