Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. (Matthew 10:34)
Often times you may hear people speak of God in terms which say more about themselves than about God. “I believe God would never say this…I believe God would never do this kind of a thing…I can’t image God as someone who is like that…” The descriptions which come after statements like these speak of a god made in man’s image, not God as He has revealed Himself through the sacred pages of Scripture, not God as He has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ.
Jesus’ words for today are meant to shock us. Far from being some sort of cosmic hippie, a Jesus who is a big teddy bear, the historical Jesus, the one who still lives and reigns at the right hand of the Father, spoke and still speaks words that are meant to cut us to our core: “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
In His first advent, Jesus came to reveal to humanity the darkness of our hearts and our estrangement from God. Upon hearing this fact, some are moved to repentance and faith in the God who loves them and sent His Son to die for them on the cross. Others are moved to bitterness and resentment toward the God who made them and wants to save them from His wrath. There is no neutrality here. Jesus came and brought not peace with Him, but the sword of His word. Jesus was and still is cause for division. Yet, strangely enough, after division comes the “peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).
LET US PRAY: Holy Father, you know our hearts, our motives, and what keeps us disconnected from life with You. Restore in us clean hearts, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. You brought unrest into my heart but You have done so for a good reason: that You would give me Your own heart and life instead. Help me to see and receive You for who You truly are day after day. Amen.
Rev. Christopher Johnson