The Crisis of Christ’s Coming
In our passage today, Jesus talks about a crisis. Not a political crisis or a financial crisis or a government crisis, but a crisis pertaining to him and his ministry. A fire is about to fall. Division and discord are about to break out. If people aren’t careful, they’ll experience the judgment of God.
Notice the theme here: vs. 49—“I am come…”, vs. 51 “I am come…” So Jesus is talking about his purpose in coming to earth, his mission and the results of that mission. He’s also rebuking the crowd for failure to understand what his coming would mean. They were thinking that he’d bring peace on the earth, but Jesus asserts that he’ll bring fire and division. In other words, the coming of Christ brought a crisis into the world.
Many of us have personally experienced the crisis associated with Jesus. Some of us no doubt came to faith in Christ as a result of a crisis situation. We come to realize that we are sinners, separated from a holy God. We recognize that our eternal destiny will be hell. We come to understand the Gospel and our need to repent of our sin and believe in Jesus. Then we are faced with the most important decision of our lives: will we accept Jesus or not? If we turn from our sin and trust in Christ, the crisis is over. If not, we just put off a larger crisis until later.
Jesus’ coming into the world created a crisis in several ways. In this passage, Jesus mentions the reasons and results of this crisis, and then he rebukes his audience for failing to understand the crisis of his coming.