Luke 12:49-13:17Division, Repent, Healing & Conflict

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.”

1 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’

8 “ ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ “

10 On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

14 Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”

15 The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”

17 When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.


Points of Interest:

  • (v.49) “I have come to bring fire on the earth”— In the Bible, God is often associated with fire in both its liberating and its destructive aspects. For instance, when God led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, He took the form of a pillar of fire which went ahead of them through the wilderness to the Promised Land; but God also sent fire from heaven to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for their wickedness.
  • Like fire, the Holy Spirit is powerful, but not entirely safe. It’s dangerous to ignore the Holy Spirit or take Him for granted; but, treated with respect, He can bring great benefits to your life.
  • (v.51) “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth?”—Jesus did come to bring peace. Nonetheless, as we’ve seen, Jesus’ offer of peace seems to provoke strong reactions: positive ones from those who are being freed and blessed with peace and negative ones from people who refuse peace of resent the way Jesus brings it. As we’ve also seen, Jesus is not too concerned with smoothing over these differences. He has something of a take-it-or-leave-it attitude about himself and the good news he brings: ‘I’m bringing peace, whether you like it or not.’ Many people don’t.
  • (v.4) “when the tower in Siloam fell on them”—these people may have died dramatically and suddenly, but their sensational deaths don’t fundamentally matter. What matters is not how they died, but whether or not they were ready for death. While not everyone’s death makes the news, the sober truth is that we do all, in fact, die; and for us too, the important thing is to be ready for that moment.
  • (v.8) “leave it alone for one more year”—it’s not as if the owner of the vineyard doesn’t care about getting fruit from his trees. He’s not lenient; He’s patient. He’s willing to give the tree every chance to bear fruit before cutting it down. Likewise, God is looking for fruit from us, namely loving God and loving our neighbors. If we haven’t yet been punished for our lack of love, it’s not because God doesn’t care; it’s because He’s giving us as much an opportunity as possible to recalibrate and grow in love.
  • (v.14) “So come and be healed on those days”—the synagogue leader goes beyond accusing Jesus of working on the Sabbath, and accuses the woman he healed of breaking the Sabbath. It’s hard to see what work she is doing; it doesn’t even seem like she goes as far as asking for healing. All she does is straighten up and praise God. Perhaps the man is afraid to criticize Jesus—who’s been a little sharp with his critics recently—so he bullies the woman instead.
  • (v.17) “his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted”—as opposed to the experts of the law, who make the law an impossible burden, Jesus actually makes the path to a good life from God more attainable.


Taking it home:

  • For you: Spend a moment today thanking God for His patience with you. Thank Him for the fact that He is rooting for you to succeed. And ask Him if there is some particular sign of growth He is looking for from you. Ask for His help in that area.
  • For your Six: Pray that the Holy Spirit would introduce your Six to a life more wonderful than they ever thought possible. Pray that they would experience a genuine connection with a real, active, powerful, and loving God.
  • For our church/ILTJ: One of the hardest parts of being in community can be sticking around when people are rubbing you the wrong way or you are experiencing conflict. Take a moment today to pray for someone in our church community who you find difficult to be around. Ask for Jesus to give you a glimpse of his heart toward that person this week. Pray that the unity at our church would be so strong that people far from Jesus would recognize that something supernatural is happening.