This is one of those readings where you ask yourself; have I read that right? and then go and read it again to make sure. Doesn’t the prophet Isaiah speak of the Messiah as ‘Prince of Peace’, so why is Jesus saying that he will not bring peace? There are some strong words here from Jesus and they should grab our attention. The Messiah brought the opportunity for man and God to be at peace once more, but the focus of Jesus’ teaching here is all about choice.
Where do we, where are we, placing Jesus in our lives? It’s about putting him first in every area of our lives and as we do so, being mindful of the wonderful gifts he brings; eternal salvation, restored relationship, grace, mercy, forgiveness, freedom from guilt, freedom from shame etc and the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. But when we do place him first we must expect opposition for there is no such thing as a neutral reaction to Jesus. His spirit challenges each and every one of us and the way we choose to live our lives so often for ourselves.
It’s not as if he is saying, ‘I’m here to take away all the fun from your lives’ but he is challenging our priorities. ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you’ (Matthew 6:33) says Jesus. God’s desire is to bless us with good things but for that to happen we must ensure that we place God in his rightful place; at the head of all things, for there we will find ‘life.’ We must then, put God F.I.R.S.T. Maybe this will help as an aide memoire to some of those key areas to give to him.
Jesus first in our F inances
Jesus first in our I nterests
Jesus first in our R elationships
Jesus first in our S chedules
Jesus first in our T hanksgivings and Troubles.
With God’s blessings
Rev Dave Clark
Vicar of the Benefice of Upper Wensleydale