Story 1 – Probably most of us have extended family situations where we find ourselves in very different “faith camps” regarding Jesus Christ, the Scriptures and objective truth etc. And it is likely true that we also find our relationships with those who reject our confidence in both the written and living Word to be often rather difficult. That difference constitutes two different worldviews, so it should not really be surprising to us.
Story 2 – One of my enduring memories of living in Texas for five years is the weather. No, not so much the summer heat; I’m talking rather about the manner in which the weather conditions could very suddenly become very, very violent. There would be blue sky overhead, with a wall of dark clouds rolling in. Moments later, the street lights would come on at midday, the wind would pick up, and it was time to get to the basement or a middle room.
Story 3 – Being a defendant in court is not a pleasant experience. You want to be sure to not be a guilty defendant. So, if you truly owe something, wisdom should drive your every effort to pay that debt and make the situation right before the judge deals with you in the harshest terms.
Let’s tie these three stories together with the three paragraphs in today’s reading.
Jesus taught that the reality of his coming would be that some will reject him while others believed in who he was. This was to be expected. Even families would be divided over this issue. That remains a truth to this day.
In Israel, west winds brought moist conditions from the Mediterranean, whereas south winds brought dry desert air. People knew what was coming by the direction of the winds. They should likewise be able to read the atmosphere of the day. Jesus was among them as the promised messiah. They should recognize this “wind condition” and accept him, though most were foolishly rejecting the obvious truth in front of them. This remains a truth to this day.
If it is wise to not ignore a situation that puts you into a perilous position before a human judge, how much riskier is it to ignore the judge of the universe? The Jewish people were not getting right with God. It is like having an increasingly loud knocking sound in the engine of your car, to which you respond by increasingly turning up the volume of the radio.
Understanding that truth divides, rightly understanding the times, and getting right with God – seems obvious, yet most people in all generations fail to see and do the correct thing.
Luke 12:49 – “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! 51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 52 From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53 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.”
54 He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. 55 And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. 56 Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?
57 “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? 58 As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled on the way, or your adversary may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. 59 I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”