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Judgment is present and make a correct judgment – Luke 12:49-59

This final periscope wraps up Jesus’ teaching on living considering the judgment to come. Five points are made.

First, Jesus desires to enact the judgment that will make this right. Judgment is not just about punishing wrongdoing. Judgment is also about implementing God’s glory and rule in the world and eliminating all that is wicked in his eyes. Jesus’ zeal for God’s glory means he wishes to implement and kindle that judgment upon the earth immediately.

Secondly, Jesus will not implement that judgment presently because first he has a baptism to undergo. This is not referring to a water baptism that brings cleansing. Baptism can also refer to an experience of being overwhelmed by the waters of a flood. In this sense it is a metaphor of trouble and divine judgment. Jesus’ baptism that he will undergo is his death upon the cross whereby he will bring salvation to his elect. Thus, God the Son who will judge will also save.

Thirdly, the judicial decisions Jesus will make on Judgment Day are already outworking themselves in the present. Even within families people will divide over their allegiance or otherwise to Christ. These divisions are this an outworking of the judgment to be finally declared.

Fourthly, Jesus returns to the idea of being a hypocrite which commenced this chapter. The crowd can look at a wind coming from the western Mediterranean Sea. Conversely, they can observe a southern wind from the wilderness and predict hot weather. They are hypocrites because while they give the appearance of being able to judge their circumstances, they have proved unable to do so with regard to Jesus’ ministry and teaching. As with Jesus’ accusation of hypocrisy at the beginning of the chapter, they do not take note of divine judgment in how they orientate their lives and/or discipleship.

Finally, Jesus calls for the crowds to judge for themselves what is right. Another wisdom story is given to illustrate what a right judgment would be considering the teaching of this chapter. If one is accused and can expect a guilty condemnation, then wisdom would be to settle with one’s accuser before one appears before the tribunal. In like manner, appreciating what Jesus has said in this chapter about judgment means one should seek a right relationship with Jesus.

The next chapter (Luke 13) indicates that settling with Jesus who is both prosecutor and judge on the final day means repenting.