Should we always put our families first? In the Bible passage assigned to this week, Jesus talks about fire, baptism and family division, amongst other things. Jesus said: “I have come to bring fire on the earth..” To the Jewish mind, fire was associated with judgement. The Jews believed that, since they were the chosen race, they would be judged less severely than others. Jesus gives no indication of this belief here. Jesus then talks about the baptism that he would undergo. By this he meant the terrible ordeal of the cross which was ever before him in his earthly ministry. How he managed to be so positive in the light of this is another miracle. Finally, Jesus says that families will be torn apart because of him. Some people in the family would want to follow him, regardless of the cost and others would not! This was one of the reasons that the Romans were opposed to Christianity in the early days. It caused domestic and social conflict when all the Romans wanted was peace. Of course, in many parts of the world today, Christianity is still causing families to be divided. In Africa, the Middle East and India many recent converts to Christianity are disowned by other family members and even threatened with violence. For them, this passage may bring some crumbs of comfort. The challenge for us is how do we continue to support them.