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From Luke 12: 51-53, Jesus said:

Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three.

There must have been a larger point to this. What was the division that he spoke of? I can't imagine it's as simple as separating the "good" from the "bad" since he often made it clear that God holds no distinction between those two types of people, and loves everyone equally and unconditionally.

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Man was created for a loving relationship with God, therefore the first and greatest commandment:

Mark 12:30 …thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

Why do we love God?

1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.

We know this:

Revelation 1:5 …from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood

The division Christ speaks of is between those that love God and those that will not. Those that want what God wants for their lives and those that want what they want for their lives.

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This is a good answer, and I may be picking at semantics here, but I don't know if it really gets at why Jesus says he came to create that division. It sounds like you're saying we're already free to - and some do - choose not to love God. –  Yuck Oct 24 '13 at 12:56
    
@Yuck Yes I believe the above scriptures do say we are at liberty to receive God's love or to reject God's love. Jesus is the faithful witness of God's love and much more. It is the evidence of God's love that will divide those that want what God wants from those that do not. –  Rick Oct 24 '13 at 13:31
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I've often wondered about this passage. I currently read it less as a mission statement and more of a prophetic warning about religious conflicts that will arise as a result of some people accepting Christianity and others rejecting it. Jesus is warning his followers that following Him will not be easy, and that it may lead to conflicts even within single families.

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Jesus Christ was prophesizing the severe punishment Israel was going to face which happened during Jewish Wars (66-70 AD).

The generation of Jews during the time of Jesus was extremely evil.

We see Jesus calling them "wicked (or sinful) and adulterous generation." (Matthew 12:39, Matthew 16:4, Mark 8:38, etc.). We also see Jesus calling people in that generation that their father is devil (John 8:44) due to their evil nature. We also see Both Jesus Christ and John the Baptist calling them "offspring of vipers" (Matthew 23, Luke 3).

Even Jewish Priest Josephus agrees with Jesus on the wickedness of that generation.

"I shall therefore speak my mind here at once briefly: — that neither did any other city suffer such miseries, nor did any age ever breed a generation more fruitful in wickedness than this was, from the beginning of the world." (Jewish Wars V, 10:5).

We all know that Jesus Christ came to forgive those who repent. But Jesus Christ also came to judge those who didn't repent.

Luke 12:51-53 can also be read in Matthew 10:34-36.

Matthew 10:34-36 (NIV) - "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household."

"A man's enemies will be the members of his own household" - This can also be read when Jesus Christ prophesized about the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the city of temple of Jerusalem in Mark 13, Luke 21.

Mark 13:12-13 (NIV) - "Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved."

Luke 21:16-19 (NIV) - "You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. Everyone will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. Stand firm, and you will win life."

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