Luke 12:49-59: War and Peace

Familiar words from Isaiah 9:6-7:

‘For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.’

We read these words often at Christmas time, the title Prince of Peace stands out to us as a great need in the world given the many wars that have happened in human history. The OT promised a son of David who would come and bring about world peace. This peace would be accomplished through the conquering of Israel’s enemies. So imagine what the expectation was around the coming Messiah in the first century when Jesus, that promised Messiah arrived. They imagined that the Messiah would come with a sword against Rome not Jerusalem. They imagined that He would be united with them in their view of who the real enemy is, the Gentile and not their own sinful hearts. They thought they knew what it meant that the Messiah was the Prince of Peace but they did not.

In Luke 12:49-59 we have some very surprising statements from the Prince of Peace. These words come in a section where Jesus is warning the present generation of Jews, the most privileged generation to have ever lived, that they must respond positively to the Messiah. Just have a glance down at 13:1-5 with the warnings to repent or perish, in v28-29 the Jews are warned that they will be cast out while the Gentiles will be included, look also at v34-35. This generation is guilty of committing the unforgivable sin in blaspheming the Spirit, they will be given the sign of Jonah, Christ has pronounced woes against the religious leaders and warned how this generation will be held accountable for all the blood of the prophets spilt so far. This generation above any other is blest, but to those who have been given much, much is required. In v35-48 we looked at Christ talking about His second coming at the end of time, now He returns to His present coming and the present time. The things He will say now have particular relevance in the first century but relevance for us as well.

We will look at these verses under three headings. Firstly, we want to hear Jesus speak about the present mission of the Prince of Peace in v49-50; then in v51-53 the warnings He gives to His disciples of the coming persecution being allies to the Prince of Peace; and then in v54-59 the warnings from the Prince of Peace to this generation and ours.