“Burn baby burn!” ~ The Magnificent Montague
While the sentiment behind the deejay Montague’s statement was decidedly anarchical back in ’65 – we are are going to be confronted with a similar statement from Jesus that we’ll have to interpret in our text this Sunday as we study the Gospel of Luke. We’ll be reading Luke 12:49-59.
The passage opens with Jesus making a remark about the world burning and his desire to see that happen. What do you suppose he means? All of Scripture has to harmonize with itself, that’s one of the tenets of orthodoxy. Given Jesus’ other statements about love and being peacemakers, it’s hard to imagine him stirring his followers to chaotic hostility. So then, what is his point? We could look at Luke’s other uses of fire imagery, a statement by John the Baptist and a description of the early church to get a clue.
Why do you think Jesus warns about division? Do you think he’s calling his followers to be divisive, or is it about our expectations as he sends us into the world as sheep among wolves?
Jesus’ rebuke about skills at predicting weather but failing to read spiritual signals is intriguing. It’s similar to our modern phrase “You miss the forest for the trees” – meaning, it’s all right under your nose but you’re failing to grasp the significance of it. In what ways might we miss what Jesus is doing presently in our world?
The closing of the chapter has a dark warning. Who do you think the characters represent in the story? Who would be the accuser, who is the judge, and what might the prison represent? Settling the matter beforehand is the key idea – what do you think that means? What might the “matter” be, and how might it be “settled”?
I hope you can join us this Sunday as we delve into these fascinating words from Jesus!