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Sharing God's Love and Word Within and Beyond Calvary

August 14 2022

Pentecost 10 C 2022 Division

Luke 12:49-56


Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen. 

Have you ever looked at the variety of Christian Art that is available today?  A quick search on Amazon.com or a swift glance at religious supply catalogs reveals that there is an almost endless supply of Christian Art out there.    

For example.  You can purchase wall paintings, plaques, desk ornaments, and poems all designed to help articulate or highlight a particular scripture verse.  And the verse displayed can come from all over the Bible and often the verse is uplifting and focuses on the promises of God. 

In preparation for today’s sermon, I really wanted to find a piece of Christian art based on today’s Gospel verse, “Do you think I have come to give peace on earth?  No, I tell you, but rather division.” Verse 51 

But I could not find any.  Apparently, this particular passage from Luke, does not fit with any normal person’s décor. 

And the passage is not one that most people would want to hang on their wall or have sitting on their desk. 

Christian Art is supposed to be uplifting and contain comforting images in them.  Our Gospel verse today is neither.  And our Gospel verse today seems like something Jesus would never have said to His disciples. 

But He did.  And His Words concerning division are just as true, and just as valid today as the day He said them.  For you see Christ’s ministry and His journey to the Cross often brings division and hostility to our world as we hear and witness Christ’s Redeeming Activity in our lives. 

Unfortunately, we often forget this.  And we long for the good old days when Christianity was an important influence in our lives and in our world.  Who does not wish that we could go back to the time when our congregations were full, and our Sunday schools were overflowing, and there was prayer in school and in our homes? 

If only America was like that again, we reason, all our problems would be solved.  And life would be simple again. 

But America was never that innocent, or pure.  Yes, there have been times in the past when Christianity was the dominant force in our society, but there has never been a time when Christianity was ALSO not hated, and not rejected by someone or some group in our society. 

By the way, history teaches us that it has been that way ever since the very beginning of Christ’s ministry until today.  The message of Jesus Christ our Lord is divisive.  And the Good News that we celebrate here in this sanctuary often does seem like foolishness to some people. 

Therefore, Jesus can rightly claim that He brings division, or as He says in Matthew’s Gospel, a sword, because the Word of God that Christ brings into our world is countercultural and goes against our ideas, and our attitudes, and our behaviors. 

The Letter of James states “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?  Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself or herself an enemy of God.” James 4:4 

Christians are to be cut-off from all worldly attitudes and behaviors.  You cannot be a neutral or a middle of the road participant.  You are either separated from the world or you are not.  You cannot be a wishy-washy Christian and be a Christian only when it is convenient to be one. 

Christ’s Word does separate the faithful from the unfaithful and this division will lead others to view the faithful with animosity.  Sadly, this division can even enter our homes.  We love our families, and we cherish them, and of all the places where we do not want to experience division is in our families.


Yet Jesus says, “They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Verse 53 

Yes.  Divisions are difficult to bear when they occur in our lives.  We do not like to be cut off from family and friends.  And we do not want to be viewed as bigoted or hateful by society.  But that is what the message of Christ can/will do to us.   

And we should be thankful.  Think about it.

Through Jesus you have been separated from your sins.  Through His death and resurrection Christ has established a mile-wide division between you and the death you deserve.  You have been cut off from the punishment that your sins have brought upon you. 

Through God’s grace and mercy and forgiveness you have been released from the consequences of your sin and marked with the Cross of Christ forever. 

I suppose the reason why there are not very many plagues and pictures of today’s Gospel text is that they would not sell very well.  People do not want to want to lift up division and conflict. 

And yet, that is what the Good News of Jesus brings to our lives.  In exchange for unity with the world we are blessed with unity with Christ who gave Himself for us and for our salvation.  

As Jesus Himself has promised “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil on account of the Son of Man!  Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven.”

Let us pray: Remember us, gracious God, when we cannot see your way and purpose, and renew in us the joy of life in your Kingdom. In Jesus name we pray.  Amen.