Yes, the Peacemaker was self-acknowledged to be the source of conflict. Here, Jesus admitted to having ulterior motives for everything He would do during His brief, yet fiery ministry. Nothing that happened during those days of fire and long treks afoot happened merely as coincidence. What appears at casual glance to be a series of vignettes, ultimately layers into the beautiful story of grace. Jesus came with a plan, and He knew the cost before he implemented the first step. That much is apparent in the above verses. Yet, not only did He come to Earth to die, but we are allowed to see His weakness, His trepidation, even His human fear in this candidly honest statement of His mission. Nothing hidden, no secrets to His purposes, but He lays the facts before His friends who had no idea of what those words would hold.
Imagine you were one of the disciples, at that moment. Would you have asked for clarification of that comment? I didn't think so. Neither would I. It just doesn't seem like something you would want to know the meaning of, from their perspective. I mean, think about it. If you have left all to follow Christ, would you want to hear that he was on a mission to die? I think not. Jesus admitted that if He must die to obtain this salvation, so be it...and let's get on with it now. Nothing held back, no posturing or parrying. He admitted this mission would consume not only Himself, but many others with a fire of division and judgment. Then, following right along with his no holds barred mentality, He went a step further and added that this mission would engulf Him. It would swallow all that He is and within this passion he would lose His own being.
I can see that happening. Can't each of us identify something that controls and engulfs us? I have always felt an engulfing passion for teaching, much like Jesus' baptism in these verses. It is an ambition that is larger than me, bigger than my ability to contain. I never really chose teaching...but rather teaching seized hold of me. I was called to the job, and I felt like that was all there was to be. And, when I thought I might not have that dream, I felt like an eagle was perched on my shoulder, with a broken wing, unable to fly. Yet, the dream would not leave. I chafed at the pain of seeing the wounded creature faltering in defeat, and tried desperately to rid myself of the dream, which would not leave. But, oh the majestic joy that filled my heart, until I felt it would explode, when I achieved that dream. Watching the eagle soar fills me with an euphoric sense of pleasure. Make no mistake, I am living my dream with every word that I write. As I have said before, the gifts and callings of God are without repentance. My calling to teach cannot be revoked by anyone. I can't stop teaching. It is who I am. Short of a power failure, or rigor mortis, nothing can silence me. I dare the devil to try. This dare is not because of my own ability or backing, but because of who I am in Jesus Christ. I know who I am.
And, the word of God is something that consumes me, like Jesus' fire. Jeremiah 23:29 Is not my word like a fire? says the LORD; and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? Yes, the Word is a hammer and a fire! It pours into my soul, pounding out a cadence and a rhythm, pounding in my temple like a hammer, burning in my heart, pushing me to not only read, read, read, but to write, write, write! Oh that I could consume the Word, for it is consuming me! Ezekiel was instructed to eat the Word, in the form of a little book, in a vision. But the Word, once tasted, begins to eat away inside your heart, like flames of a fire.
I can see why Jesus is called the Living Word... the Logos. The Word makes me alive. It fuels my soul. I feel the life, the living Water, when I drink from the Words of God. I feel thirsty without the Word, as if I have no strength, and perhaps as if I have no God. And, if I read too much, and don't write or speak, it burns within me like a fire that threatens to consume me. I, like the apostles, cannot help but speak the Words that I have read and heard of Jesus.
Luke 24:32 And they said one to another, Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? Same, same! Their hearts burned because the Word of God... Jesus Christ...spoke to them. When I open the pages of God's Word, my heart burns within me because His Word is living in me. The odd part is that filling up on the Word brings a peace to my life, like an infusion of sanity. How can something that drives you like fire, fill you with such peace? Oh, but I always try to offer a drink to my guests when they come over. If you're thirsty... Psalms 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that
trusts in him.