Greek Study Luke 12:49-56
49“I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! 51Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! 52From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three;53they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
54He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain’; and so it happens. 55And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens. 56You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
V49 ηλθον (ερχομαι) aor. "I have come" - in the sense of coming on a mission. The aorist tense is ingressive (inceptive) where the beginning of the action is still within view.
βαλειν (βαλλω) aor. inf. "to bring/cast" - possibly "kindle" - infinitive expresses purpose.
πυρ (πυρ πυρος) "fire" - position is emphatic. What "fire" is intended is debatable. Is it i] the fire of the gospel that condemns and divides; ii] the fire of eschatological judgement in the last day; iii] the fire of the Holy Spirit; iv] the fire of suffering; v] the fire of holiness; vi] or the fire of faith? It seems best to accept eschatological judgment since fire is a dominant Old Testament image of judgment.
τι "how [I wish...]" - an indefinite statement, a wish or possibly an interjection or perhaps a question as in, "what do I want if it is already kindled?" followed by an unfulfilled wish ει ηδη ανηφθη, "Oh that it were already kindled".
v50 βαπτισμα (α ατος) acc. "[I have] a baptism [to undergo]" perhaps an idiom meaning; an overwhelming need to experience. We have here an example of baptism being used in the metaphorical sense, e.g. immersed in teaching/spirit/experiences as opposed to being immersed in water. Here the immersion is in suffering as the crucifixion is accompanied by cosmic signs and a preemptive rising of the dead which serves to prefigure the coming day of judgment (hot damn a zombie apocalypse!) It is most certainly not an allusion to Christian baptism, or baptism in the blood of martyrs.
βαπτισθηναι (βαπτιζω) aor. pas. inf. "to undergo" - to be overwhelmed infinitive is epexegetic explaining what Jesus must have to experience.
συνεχομαι (συνεχω) pres. pas. "[how] distressed I am" possibly in the sense of "constrained" or "preoccupied".
εως οτου + subj. "until [it is completed]" - a temporal clause referring to time up to a future point, so "until".
v51 οτι that [I come] …a dependent clause expressing what “they” might think.
δουναι (διδωμι) aor. inf. "to bring" - in the sense of "establish"- an infinitive expressing purpose, "in order to".
ειρηνην (η) "peace" - position is emphatic; an idiomatic saying; "do you really think peace is the purpose/ consequence of my coming? No way!" The Lord’s Day is a day of apocalyptic tribulation. Jesus aligns himself with the prophets when he reminds us that "the good news" has a sting and so is for some bad news!
διαμερισμον (ος) "division" – a Hapax legomenon, Matthew records the word "sword" rather than "division". Luke clarifies the meaning of the word "sword" by his use of "division". The sense is of separating sheep from goats, wheat from chaff; repentant from unrepentant. In the present, this division is achieved by the gospel. This separating is both a separation unto life or death, and also a social separation (vv52-53).
v52 απο του νυν "from now on" - general time designation used by Luke to identify a change caused by the arrival of Messiah.
εσονται (ειμι) fut. "there will be" - Future of the verb to-be. If linked to the participle it forms a "periphrastic future perfect", so "a household of five will be divided".
οικω (ος) "[in one] family" - house.
διαμεμερισμενοι (διαμεριζω) perf. pas. part. "divided against each other" - action is intensive with durative effect; from now and into the future there will be division so it is permanent.