Wednesday after Gaudete, The Third Sunday in Advent
Scripture: St. Luke 21:35-59 (NKJV)
12:35 “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; 36 and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. 38 And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. 39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 40 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
41 Then Peter said to Him, “Lord, do You speak this parable only to us, or to all people?”
42 And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44 Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. 45 But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
47 “And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
49 “I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! 51 Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. 52 For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. 53 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.”
54 Then He also said to the multitudes, “Whenever you see a cloud rising out of the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming’; and so it is. 55 And when you see the south wind blow, you say, ‘There will be hot weather’; and there is. 56 Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time?
57 “Yes, and why, even of yourselves, do you not judge what is right? 58 When you go with your adversary to the magistrate, make every effort along the way to settle with him, lest he drag you to the judge, the judge deliver you to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. 59 I tell you, you shall not depart from there till you have paid the very last mite.”
“Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division.”
The Prince of Peace tells us that He didn’t come to bring peace on earth. That can seem perplexing, especially with the angels hailing His birth at the beginning of Luke with “peace on earth, goodwill toward men.” But the peace He brings to the earth is the opportunity for peace with God through faith in Him. And if you are at peace with God, you will be in conflict with the devil, the world, even with your own sinful flesh. Beware of a false theology of glory, of a doctrine that tells you “if you get right with Jesus it will all be peaches and cream”!
Our Lord is clear that it shall not be so.
But we can also take some comfort in reading this the other way. As we experience a lack of peace with the unbelieving, or as we experience even the division from fellow Christians who discard some aspect or another of our Lord’s teaching, take heart: this is but further indication that you are His, that though you are not at peace with the world, you truly are at peace with God, for Christ’s death on the cross has purchased your peace with Him.
We pray: Oh God, amidst the chaos and division of life in this world, do ever and continually, through Your peace that passes understanding, guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.