Jesus the Divider
Beginning May 10, 1940 the Nazi Blitzkrieg attacked France driving the British army to the sea at Dunkirk and across the English Channel. By June 5, 1940 the German armor drove unopposed into Paris, set up a puppet government, the “Vichy Regime” with its president, the aging Marshal Philippe Petain, and demanded the French submit to their rule.
General Charles de Gaulle didn’t accept his nation’s capitulation. In exile on June 18, 1940, he got on the BBC radio and called upon his countrymen to resist. He instituted the Provisional Government of the French Republic and fueled the hope of the French Resistance in his occupied homeland.
If you lived in Paris, you had to decide. Submit to the Germans (the majority believed Nazi victory in Europe was inevitable) or join the Resistance, called the “absurd refusal,” and work underground with the Allies to bring Hitler to his knees. The decision for or against the Germans divided friends and families. It was one of those final decisions—a decision that left no middle ground.
It’s popular to paint Jesus as a gentle, easy-going prophet of peace. In reality He’s the fiery Messiah—the One who presents us with the final ultimate decision.
“I come to bring fire upon the earth, and how I wish that that fire was already kindled. Now I have a baptism to undergo and I’m seized with distress until this baptism is accomplished. You think I’ve come to bring peace in the earth? No! I tell you. I bring the divide. For from now on there will be five in a household, and they will be divided—three against two and two against three. A father will be separated against a son and a son against a father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” Luke 12:49-53
In Luke’s narrative we are at a turning point. Jesus turns toward Jerusalem. His baptism will be His crucifixion, and it will be decision time for His people. Accept His claims to be the promised Messiah, the Son of God, the One who fulfilled Isaiah 53 and became God’s ultimate sacrifice so that sin could be forgiven, or join the religious leadership that declared Him a blasphemer. There was no middle ground. It was Jesus’ Kingdom or remain enslaved in Satan’s tyrannical regime. There was no middle ground then and there is no middle ground today.
LORD, many reject this kind of radical talk from Your Son. It’s politically correct to talk about many ways to heaven and to place Your Son in a long line of saviors. Use this devotional to expose the deadly capitulation to Satan’s deception, to move minds to listen carefully to Jesus’ ultimate claims and choose to join the resistance against Satan’s kingdom of death.
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