Luke’s Gospel begins with a glorious account of Jesus’ birth. The angels bring a message of peace on earth. So Jesus’ question comes as a shock: “Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth?” Yes, of course that’s what we think. But Jesus goes on to state that his coming will bring division—and not just among strangers but within families, the fabric of community.
We may experience broken relationships as some choose to follow Christ and others choose to reject him. It becomes challenging as these close relationships become more difficult and even toxic. Relationships between friends can end, intentionally or gradually. Colleagues require respect. But what happens in a family? As Christ-followers we do not cut ties with family members. The Bible tells us to honor our parents, to love one another. What a challenge! How do we love when others repeatedly reject and provoke us?
Jesus experienced opposition within his family. (See Matthew 12:46-50.) Scripture does not reveal what happened when the family members met again. Jesus loved with God’s love and remained unswayed by arguments or differing opinions. He continues to love his family.
Can we love with God’s love those family members who oppose our faith, even though we do not agree with them? When we become a channel of God’s love, we continue to touch other people’s lives. We may be the only channel available to them.
Jesus never said following him would be easy, and he offers the only solution—his love! How will you let Jesus’ love flow through you to difficult people you encounter?
I believe I can do all things in your name, so here I am, Lord. Help me love as you love. Amen.
Isaiah 5:1-7 and Psalm 80:8-19 employ simi- lar images to represent the people of God—a vine or a vineyard. The image clearly communicates the careful commitment of God to God’s people. Unfortunately, the people do not respond in kind, so God must destroy the vineyard. The people plead for restoration, and their future life will depend not on their repen- tance but on God’s repentance! Jesus issues a radical call for human repentance in Luke. God will bear the burden of human disobedience, and God’s gracious turning to humankind makes life possible. Hebrews shows that the story of God’s people does contain outstanding episodes and exemplars of faith and sug- gests that God never gives up on calling us to follow, to run the dif cult race that leads to life.
• Read Isaiah 5:1-7. What fruit are you growing—wild grapes or sweet ones? How can God redeem you?
• Read Psalm 80:1-2, 8-19. How do you recognize God’s love and presence?
• Read Hebrews 11:29–12:2. Think of a cirumstance when your faith in God was all you could rely on.
• Read Luke 12:49-56. Where do you recognize the urgency of the kingdom of God? How does this awareness affect your daily actions?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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