We’re continuing in our study through Luke’s Gospel. The Lord is teaching about the future ministry of His disciples and the church. At that point, the disciples probably didn’t understand most of what Christ was saying. But, looking back, we can take it to heart.
“I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed!”
Luke 12:49-50 NIV
The Lord begins to talk about the results of His ministry on the earth. There’s a fire He wants to start, but He has to undergo His immersion first. Jesus is talking about His death, burial, and resurrection.
The fire is to be an important part of what He starts at His resurrection. He mentioned it at another place in His ministry.
“Everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”
Mark 9:49-50 NIV
In this section, the Lord is not talking about us being the salt of the earth. He’s speaking about the salt of fire being placed within us. I believe that He’s talking about the Holy Spirit, who we receive when we become a Christian.
Throughout the Bible, God is referred to as a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). Elsewhere, we’re told not to put out the Holy Spirit’s fire (1 Thessalonians 5:19). It’s through this purifying work of the Holy Spirit that we’re made clean before God.
There is a consequence of this, however. Not everybody wants to be changed by the Spirit of God. There are those who will refuse to accept this free gift of salvation.
“Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 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.”
Luke 12:51-53 NIV
Peace is a big subject when you talk about Christ. At Christmas time we sing about “Peace on Earth.” That’s what Christ is talking about here, but that won’t come about until His return. At that time the Lord will reign over the earth and there will be peace.
Until then, the earth will be in turmoil. Part of that will be the tension between darkness and light. The kingdom of God vs the enemy’s rule on earth. Many times this war will erupt right inside our homes. This happens when some family members are Christians and some are not.
We experience this on many occasions. We need to be going to the Lord to receive grace to win over our families. Sometimes that’s the hardest place to minister. I’ve heard so many stories where a family member comes to Christ through a friend, even though they had rejected that same witness from their family.
But there’s another peace that’s available to us, as believers. That’s God’s peace. It’s the peace that should be active in His people. Jesus said that He was going to give it to us (John 14:27).
I believe this is the peace that Jesus was referring to in the verse in Mark, above. If we let God salt us with His purifying fire, then we’ll be clean from all the things that cause conflict. By submitting to the Holy Spirit’s work, the church can be a place that shows forth the peace of God. This should be an example to the world around us.
Of course, we want our loved ones to enter into this peace. We need to be praying for them. And praying for the grace to reach them.
But, if we find that they refuse to listen to our testimony, there’s another prayer that we must use. We should be praying that God would send someone to them that they will listen to. We can’t be so stubborn to think that we’re the only person God will use to reach them. Pray for a Christian friend to bring the Word they need to hear.
Question: Who are you praying for to receive the Gospel of Christ?
© 2022 Nick Zaccardi