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One of the blogs I wrote, “Where is the Unity?”, was written concerning the extensive divisions in the body of Christ. Whether in Old Testament times or in the Church Age, God has never wanted His people to be divided, but unified (Psalm 133:1; 1 Corinthians 3:1-9).



However, during His earthly ministry Jesus Christ made a statement which seems, on the surface, to be a direct contradiction of this idea. We will get to it momentarily. As always, though, the Bible does not actually contradict itself. Even where the Word of God seems to be conflicting in places, there is an underlying truth which ties the contrasting elements together. Here is the Lord’s stunning statement:


Luke 12:49-53: I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! Do you suppose that I came to give peace on the earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.


What is Jesus telling us here? It cannot be division among believers, for that would contradict the inspired Word’s instructions for us to be united. It also cannot be a desire to see all families’ members wantonly embattled against one another, for God’s basic building block of any society from the beginning has been the family, springing from one man and one woman in marriage (Genesis 1:27-28, 2:23-24).


In contrast to the announcement by the angelic host of peace and goodwill toward men upon the birth of our Lord (Luke 2:8-20), Christ is relating in the Luke 12 passage how His name, after His death, burial, and resurrection, will result in conflict between believers and unbelievers as well as between the adherents of Judaism and those of Christianity.

The name of Jesus Christ is a spiritual lightning rod. If you get involved in a discussion with unbelievers about God it will not take long for you to find this out. As long as you say, “God,” you will not normally receive much pushback unless you are dealing with someone who is either polytheistic, agnostic, or atheistic. Besides, to a lot of people, the term “God” if used without context can mean any of a number of gods, but when you supply context with the mention of the one true God, the whole atmosphere changes:


1 Corinthians 8:5-6: For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.

When you mention the name of Jesus, peoples’ attitudes change noticeably. Some even start to get angry and argumentative. While those deep in sin can have plenty of angst toward Jesus without the help of demons, you can be sure that demons stir people up in a bad way concerning the name of our Lord. The whole kingdom of darkness knows what happened at Calvary and what this watershed event in the history of all creation means. Christ’s victory at the cross sealed the already certain doom of Satan and all who follow him, including the fallen angels and the demons. The following verses give a good summation of what the Lord’s victory accomplished:

Colossians 2:11-15: In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

In ancient Rome, a Roman general that had won a great victory for the Empire would be given a magnificent parade called the “Roman Triumph.” Jesus Christ won a victory of that magnitude at Calvary, soundly defeating and humiliating the kingdom of darkness. From the time that God Himself, in the Garden of Eden, had prophesied of a coming Messiah that would defeat him (Genesis 3:15), the devil has looked for ways to prevent the Promised One from coming. When the Watchers cohabited with human women, producing a race of giants, no doubt Satan strongly urged this on to corrupt the entire human bloodline and sabotage God’s plans, but by way of Noah he failed (Genesis 6:4-9).

Over the course of time he repeatedly attacked Israel, ruining its status as a nation (2 Kings 17:7-23; 2 Chronicles 36:11-21).  It was through Israel that the Messiah would come (2 Samuel 7:12-16; Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7).  Despite the best efforts of Satan and his evil kingdom, Jesus was born anyway. He then stirred up the exceedingly wicked King Herod the Great, this deranged and demonized man giving the order to have all male children two years old and under in Bethlehem and all its districts killed, but God did not allow Jesus to be found and murdered (Matthew 2:1-23).



At times during the Lord’s ministry on earth there were attempts made on His life. However, He accomplished His task and won salvation for us on the cross, handing Satan and his kingdom their worst defeat yet. Since then the enemy has not ceased attacking the body of Christ. As the time of the end of the Church Age draws near he has ramped up his attacks on us. In the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries there have been more Christians martyred than in the previous nineteen centuries combined, including the multitudes killed during the ten Roman persecutions spanning the time from Nero in the first century AD to the time of Constantine, who encouraged benevolence toward Christians and Christianity with the Edict of Milan in 313 AD.


Throughout the Church Age, the name of Jesus has polarized people against each other, including those in households as He foretold in the Luke passage we started with. Spiritual warfare is real. The devil, the fallen angels, and the demons are real. They hate, despise, and dread the name of Jesus (Luke 8:26-32).  They know who the one true God is. Also note this Scripture:


James 2:19: You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!


You also know from witnessing to others that sometimes people can become quite angry at the mention of Jesus’s name. That is to be expected. In my blog, “Dogs and Swine,” I discussed the witnessing aspect of this more extensively. But no matter what we experience as believers living as lights in a dark and fallen world, we must not hide who we are and Whose we are. We must not lose the courage to speak the name that is above all names: Jesus Christ (note Matthew 10:34-39 in connection with this and the Luke 12  passage). 



He is the only way to salvation, and He has not changed (Hebrews 13:8).  The name of Jesus will continue to give division. So be it. Let the Lord be the cause of division, not us. When our efforts do not prevail with certain individuals, let them be, but maintain your courage to live for the Lord. And rest assured, if people do not confess Him willingly now, they will confess Him later whether they want to or not:


Philippians 2:9-11: Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


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