#DailyDevotion Have You Experience A Baptism By Fire?
Luke 12:49–53 (54–56)
49“I have come to bring fire on earth, and how glad I would be if it were already started! 50I must be baptized with a baptism, and how I am troubled until it is done! 51“Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you — to bring division. 52From now on five in one family will be divided, three against two and two against three. 53A father will be against a son and a son against a father, a mother against a daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” 54“When you see a cloud coming up in the west,” Jesus said to the people, “you immediately say, “There’s going to be a heavy rain,’ and so it rains. 55 And when you see a wind blowing from the south, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and so it is. 56You hypocrites! You can tell what the appearance of the earth and of the sky means. How is it that you can’t interpret this present time?
Some pretty tough stuff coming from Jesus. I don’t know if a lot of ears today can bear it. First, Jesus talks about the tough situation he is about to go through. Jesus talks about having come to bring fire on the earth and that he wishes it were already started then he talks about a baptism he has to undergo how he is troubled until it is done. Many people think Jesus is talking in a parallelism, where two things explain one another. Now fire is generally considered judgment. And, well enough, the present age will end in the fiery judgment of God. But in parallel, the fire of judgment and the baptism Jesus is about to experience are the same. Jesus is anxious to suffer the judgment he will experience on the cross. That judgment is God’s judgment upon the world in and on Christ Jesus on the cross. I don’t know if the Judaism talked about getting baptisms as an experience other than getting wet, but Jesus certainly has and we have picked up on it in our own every day idioms.
So Jesus is eagerly looking for this baptism, a baptism of fire upon the cross. As Hebrews not, but for the joy set before him he scorned the cross and its shame. Jesus came to save sinners, that’s you and me, and he accomplishes that upon the baptism of fire on the cross.
Then Jesus says something else that probably drives us moderns crazy. “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you — to bring division.” Well that just goes against every thought of Jesus people have today. No cozy, comfy, everything is awesome Jesus here. While our Lord Jesus Christ did come to bring peace, love, assurance, and the like, it comes on his terms. He does not cozy up to idols, false doctrine and our pet sin. The peace Jesus brings by his baptism by fire is a peace between God and man. But in this peace all other gods, all other comforts, every sin that so easily entangles us is at odds with Jesus. You will either hate and love the other or vice versa.
So there will be conflicts and division even within families because of Jesus and his word. Jesus demands that he be the number one thing in your life. He demands the comfort of the cross be your only assurance before God. We are not to agree to disagree about Jesus. We simply and boldly hold forth Jesus as the savior of the world, the only way to heaven, the only peace between God and man and man and man. There is nothing else and no one else than can do.
This peace he did bring, won, procured through the fiery baptism of the cross he offers to us freely. We are joined to his judgment upon the cross through our own baptism into his name. Here in baptism he gives us freely what he has obtained for us on the cross and the empty tomb. But be wary of the times. Know this, friendship with Jesus, being joined to him through baptism will set you at odds with the rest of the world.
Almighty God, heavenly Father, you sent your son Jesus Christ to be baptized into your wrath upon the cross so that all who looked to him would escape the coming judgment. Grant us such faith in Christ through our baptism that we would take our comfort, strength and peace solely through his innocent, suffering and death. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.