When Jesus was only eight days old, an elderly citizen of Jerusalem prophesied over him, saying that Jesus "was destined for the rising and falling of many." True to the word spoken about him, throughout his ministry Jesus continually created a kind of crisis - a moment of truth and an occasion for choosing. To encounter Jesus is to set before oneself both life and death, both blessing and judgement; his very presence reveals evidence of God's grace that demands a verdict.
When Jesus tells his followers that he brings division rather than peace, or that people who profess faith in God but are in love with the world are only "play actors," he does so with the utmost love in his heart. Standing between his earthly mission and his crown of glory looms a cross, its shadows growing closer every day. Likewise, between the people Jesus loves and their salvation and peace lies a world of weeds, clutter, and detritus. With regard to all that keeps us from loving God wholeheartedly, to our false idols and worldly preoccupations, Jesus has but one question. "Got a match?"