Sermon 18 August 2019

What a sad reading. Jesus comes to bring a fire, and division. This division is not just in humanity this strikes at the Jewish centre family. Family was the means of social behaviour. Your actions bring honour or shame to the family. Children would hear the stories of great honour that their family had bought to the people of Israel. To be the descendants of Moses, Aaron, Samuel. To be an Israelite was a great honour too. God’s chosen people. They had to live a life worthy of this great family.

Therefore a child’s actions were not about good or bad. Their actions were not just about them. It was whether it bought honour to the family. So for Jesus to say that he would bring division in families would have been a social devastation.

Jesus believes that the people should not be shocked. They can read the signs of nature, so they should surely see the signs in humanity. If they did they would know he was right. They need to change and that requires conflict.

It would appear that Jesus’ coming is not the blessing the Israelites are looking for. If this is not enough Jesus appears to go off on some wild tangent about being reconciled with an adversary, so as to avoid prison.

What a bleak reading. I talk about opportunities, but this does not look like an opportunity, but it is.

No one reads the signs of nature and then does nothing. If it is going to be hot we prepare to make sure we are not effected badly. If it is going to rain we prepare so it does not do any damage. If there is going to be an argument, we should also prepare so it is not a bad one.

Humanity will spend a lot of money and time to prepare for the bad things of nature, but would they do the same for human problems. Most people would rather lose a friend, partner, spouse than try to fix the difficulty.

The Israelites had lost focus on what was important as God’s people and Jesus was bringing a refocusing of the people. God knew they needed it, and if they had looked they would have noticed it. Those who saw it and accepted it would be in conflict with those who didn’t, even those in families.

I think Jesus was talking to both sides when he talked about being reconciled, but may be the warning was more for those who fought against God.

Jesus’ message still fights against the values and principles of this world. If we do not see the signs we are no better then those of Jesus’ time. We have an opportunity.  Who do we need to be reconciled with?