Good Shepherd Lutheran

What Are We Willing to Do? – Luke 12:49-56
When confronted with the problems of the world, it can be hard to see that our Christian message is getting any traction. The message that God is acting through Jesus Christ to bring about God’s Kingdom is so contrary to our instincts that we’re tempted to stay silent.
The claim that, ultimately, Jesus Christ is Lord of everything, can make us uncomfortable. It reveals our idolatries of money, sex, status, power, or whatever it is we’re putting in the place that rightfully belongs to God.
One of my favorite summaries of the gospel is this: “There’s a Messiah. It’s not you.” It’s short and sweet and cuts to the heart of our modern dilemma.
In our culture we’re strongly encouraged to believe that our salvation can only come from ourselves; from progressively throwing off more and more shackles, and by more and more freely expressing ourselves. Holding ourselves accountable to no law outside ourselves, because society tells us that we’re solely in control. We can identify as any gender, or being, or thing, or idea and no one can dare to contradict us because it’s all about us. It’s all about ourselves.
If everything that exists is just about pleasing myself, then it’s only short hop into the abyss of meaninglessness, because those temporary things that I want just aren’t a strong enough anchor for me to hold onto.
But that’s NOT all there is. Jesus tells us there is a Lord of all, a Messiah, and that God speaks through him. And we can only be truly free when we acknowledge that and place God at the center. The Kingdom of God is within us and we can participate in God’s plan for the world, not as self-idolizing mini-gods, but as God’s beloved sons and daughters. To fail to grasp that is to be like those people who are so good at making predictions about what’s going to happen tomorrow, but who can’t see what’s really going on right in front of them today.
If we aren’t experiencing at least a little division, a little tension, even within ourselves, over Jesus’ claim on our lives, then maybe we haven’t really grasped quite how radical the Gospel is.
Which brings us to Martin Luther. He stood against the abuses of the medieval church. From nailing the famous 99 theses on the door of the Wittenberg church to his courage at the Diet of Worms, his stance is summed up in the statement “here I stand, I can do no other.” All of that’s inspiring, but the key thing about this story is that it stands as an illustration of Luke 12:49-56: Jesus’ revolutionary message brings discord, not peace.
It was no small thing to stand up to the medieval church and ignite a years-long conflict, but he did. He persevered like the witnesses in Hebrews 11:29-12:2. The only question is, are we willing to do the same?