Jesus is the Prince of Peace, but peace does not mean the absence of conflict even in family. Peace is calm confidence through conflict and division even in family. Jesus does not allow “peace at any price.” It’s hypocrisy. One of the saddest events to observe is family division. However, Jesus assures us it will happen when people become serious about him and no one is left out – father, son, mother, daughter, in-laws, out-laws. Every person who follows Jesus will have a personal relational price to pay. This included Jesus with his own family.


Peace at any Price? No! – Luke 12:49-53

By Delbert Young


Sermon video

Peace at any Price? No! – Luke 12:49-53

Scriptures: Luke 12:49-53; 2 Corinthians 5:17; John 7:43; John 9:16; John 10:19; Luke 12:54-56; Luke 12:57-59

We’ve been going through chapter 12 of Luke seeing how Jesus warned his disciples in 12:1 to “be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” Though a crowd of many thousands was there, Jesus focused on his disciples giving them warning after warning on how this yeast can get into us transforming faithful followers into hypocrites. Last week we saw the yeasting of eschatology can cause hypocrisy. Today we see yet another surprising “yeasting” of hypocrisy.

A consistent thought of Jesus is he brought a message of love and peace – love, love, love, and peace, peace, peace. Isn’t this what we are taught to think? No one in human history changed the world as has and does Jesus Christ. Yet, no one has ever brought as much division and hatred as Jesus Christ. People either curse him using his name in profanities, or people worship him using his name in praise.

Luke 12:49-53 “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! 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 twoAGAINST three. They will be DIVIDED, father AGAINST son and son AGAINST father, motherAGAINST daughter and daughter AGAINST mother, mother-in-law AGAINST daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law AGAINST mother-in-law.”

The word against is used 9 times and division/divided 3 times! Wow! We may be able to see the mother-in-law, daughter-in-law thing coming, but the others are a little surprising. What’s the optimum thought? Jesus said maintaining “peace at any price” even in family can be a yeast causing hypocrisy. I’ve seen this yeast’s upheaval working, fermenting, like yeast in dough totally transforming dedicated Christ followers into Pharisaical judgmental people. Some of you have been forced to take a stand against your own family and friends as you followed Jesus. Some are doing this right now. You know others who didn’t take a stand and were yeasted with hypocrisy not serving or following Jesus today. It’s a dangerous yeast, so be on guard.

Jesus is the Prince of Peace, but peace does not mean the absence of conflict even in family. Peace is calm confidence through conflict and division even in family. Jesus does not allow “peace at any price.” It’s hypocrisy. One of the saddest events to observe is family division. However, Jesus assures us it will happen when people become serious about him and no one is left out – father, son, mother, daughter, in-laws, out-laws. Every person who follows Jesus will have a personal relational price to pay. This included Jesus with his own family who, at one time, thought Jesus had lost his mind (Mar 3:21).

Why did Jesus say “I come to bring fire on the earth?” Jesus expressed why he came on many occasions in many different ways: to fulfill the law (Mat 5:17); to preach (Mar 1:38); to seek and to save that which was lost (Luk 19:10); he came “in my father’s name” (Joh 5:43); to do the will of the Father (Joh 6:30); for judgment (Joh 9:39); to give life and that abundantly (Joh 10:10); as light (Joh 12:46). He gives another reason – to bring fire on the earth. What did he mean? Well, he did build a fire to cook fish for the disciples after the resurrection, but that’s not what he meant (Joh 21:9).

What is your imagery of this fire (ge {ghay}-land/landscape)? Fire is an imagery of God’s judgment, but Jesus never had a problem saying the word “judgment.” I think if Jesus meant judgment, he would have simply said “judgment,” but also, the Holy Spirit is fire, a baptism (Luk 3:16), and came as tongues of fire (Act 2), caused division, and continues to. When a fire goes through land everything burns including established great trees, underbrush, leaves, and pine straw. Then, everything begins again. All things are made new. It’s like being born again.

2 Corinthians 5:17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is A NEW CREATION; the old has gone,THE NEW HAS COME!

The presence of Jesus is like fire (Jer 20:9 fire in my bones; Heb 12:29 – consuming fire). You can’t ignore a fire. Fire alters the landscape. Nearly everything has changed on the earth since his coming. Isn’t this fire what actually causes division even in our foundation relationships? Alicia Keys sings “Girl on Fire.” She wasn’t talking about the same kind of fire, but are you on fire? Has Jesus torched you?

I’ll never forget how it was when I first came into the kingdom of God. I was on fire. Foundational relationships divided. My parents thought I had gone off the deep end. Friends felt we’d abandoned them. Underbrush was burned away. All things became new. I was consumed by the Holy Spirit. I wanted everything God had to give me. How about you? Have you experienced the fire?

Jesus said a most interesting statement. “BUT I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed!” Did Jesus experience stress – distressed? Jesus is speaking about thebaptism of the cross. Didn’t Jesus say to not be anxious about tomorrow? He wasn’t anxious, but he was stressed. Distress – sunecho {soon-ekh’-o} – to hold together with constraint, to compress, that pushing in on each side. The fire he came to bring would not come until the cross and resurrection were completed (Joh 16:7). Again, I see the fire he came to bring is the fire of the Holy Spirit. Here’s what I know. The world can be “pushing in on each side,” but you can remain at peace with God. He had to go through the stress so the fire would come.

This distress is like a child’s birth. Birth is a beautiful thing… afterwards, but the actual process is a bloody, ugly, painful, suffering, screaming mess. I’ll never forget the birth of our first child, but my memories are not nearly as pungent as my wife’s. She thought she was going to die. Once the birth was completed everybody rejoiced, especially Judy. Jesus was about to give birth to a new creation. It would be painful. It was distressing and he wanted it over.

In reality, Jesus wasn’t/isn’t the cause of division. He’s the result of it. The cause of division is the rejecting or following of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Jesus is radical at the very least and came to make a radical difference. He has changed the landscape of the earth with fire.

We wonder why other religions persecute Christians. They’re supposed to.

John 7:43 Thus the people were DIVIDED BECA– USE OF JESUS.

John 9:16 …But others asked, “How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?” So they wereDIVIDED.

John 10:19 At these words the Jews were AGAIN DIVIDED.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is divisive and will burn away relationships. It always has been and always will be. Other religions and people say, “That’s what I hate about you Christians. You’re so separatist. You think Jesus is the only way to God.” Yelp, exactly right. What you believe is supposed to divide and can cause your closest relatives to despise and even hate you. If it hasn’t caused some division at some point in your life then maybe you should investigate and see what you are doing wrong. Jesus said EXPECT DIVISION.

Until now, in this chapter, Jesus focused on the disciples warning of the yeast of the Pharisees. He now turns and addresses the crowd of many thousands in verse 54. He is so serious about this yeast.

Luke 12:54-56 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. And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. 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?

“HYPOCRITES!” They were filled with the yeast of the Pharisees. Here is what this yeast will do. It will cause us to miss God’s presence when standing in front of us. They were far better meteorologists than followers. How true is this today? Let me ask you. Which can you and I do better, interpret the weather, or interpret this present time? What do people pay more attention to: Tomorrow’s weather report or their relationship with Jesus at this present time?

Before radar and satellite imagery people forecasted weather this way. I still do this every day especially when on the ocean fishing no matter what the official forecast is. Do I evaluate the climate between me and God every day? For them, if rain clouds formed toward the west (the Mediterranean Sea) it meant rain. If the wind came from the south it brought heat off the desert area. They were efficient at interpreting the weather, but inefficient at interpreting the climate between them and God. How about us? Do you constantly interpret the climate between you and the Lord?

Jesus said, “Hypocrites! How is it you don’t know…” They knew who Jesus is. The thought isn’t they didn’t know what was happening at that time. They knew and were hypocrites play acting as if they didn’t know. Jesus was who Moses spoke about, who the prophets spoke about, and who they long awaited. They knew!

Isn’t this true today? People know, right? People know, yet people play act as if they don’t and as if belief in Jesus is demonic. It’s a frightening position to take. Today we have the written gospels PLUS we have the proof from history of the massive changes in this world since Jesus and his teachings. The kingdom of God has come and is advancing.

Let’s think about us. We hear a winter blizzard is coming. What do people do? We take appropriate actions. We flood the grocery stores. We make certain we have batteries. If, we begin hearing tornado warnings what do we do? We take appropriate actions. We go on alert. If the warning turns into a watch we begin thinking about shelter. We tune in to the weather channels. We hone in to acquire all the information possible to save ourselves and those we love. How much information have you acquired concerning eternity? How many are tuned in? How much more should we be taking appropriate actions?

Luke 12:57-59 “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, TRY HARD to be reconciled to him on the way, or he may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the LAST PENNY.”

This seems out of place and context, but of course it isn’t. Jesus isn’t giving legal advice. It’s an allegory. The scenario is you borrowed a sum of money, but will not, or are unable to, repay. Your lender is taking you through the legal process. You’re guilty. It’s cut and dry. Jesus said if you don’t get it reconciled before court, you’re going to prison and will remain there until you pay.

In the spiritual case God is the judge. We know we are guilty. We will be found guilty. The storm is coming and we know it. Get it reconciled and settled through Jesus now! We have a way, though guilty, to avoid eternal prison, but the account must be settled before getting to the judgment seat. I think a lot of people have convinced themselves they will somehow deal with God then. No you won’t. It will be too late then. The thing is we are all guilty. It’s simply we Christ Followers reconciled through Jesus. Have you?

People believe, if there is a judgment, their good deeds will outweigh their bad deeds. It doesn’t work this way. Some believe whatever religion they have served will get them a pardon. It doesn’t work this way either. Jesus said, “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?” We know. We play act, but we know. Don’t allow it to cost you the last penny – your very soul.

Other Related Sermons:

I SEE GRACE pt 2 – Easter sermon video audio notes

Easter Nonsense – sermon video audio notes

Revelation Chapter 8, Seven Angels with Seven Trumpets – video audio notes

Also see:

Sermons Change The World

Life Gate Church sermons by Delbert Young