Q. I have questions on two verses in the Gospels. In both Matthew 10:34-36 and Luke 12:49-52, Jesus said he did not come to bring peace but division on earth. Using the NIV version, Jesus mentions that he would bring fire on the earth and wishes how it would be kindled (Luke 12: 49). He also says that families would be divided: daughter against mother, son against father, daughter in law against mother in law, etc. Why was Jesus saying that families would be divided? What did He mean when he said he would bring fire on the earth and wished it was already kindled?
A. The division Jesus was talking about in Matt. 10:34-36 is caused by the fact that in many families some members believe in Jesus while others do not. This difference often causes hostility between them. This can be especially true in Orthodox Jewish families.
The fire He mentioned in Luke 12:49 refers to the end times judgments. He wished it was already kindled because it’s through these judgments that sin will be judged and He will regain authority over earth. In Luke 12:50 He said that first He had a “baptism” to undergo. He was talking about His death for our sins. If the end times judgments had begun before His death and resurrection, all of humanity would have been lost.