“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
… Being a follower of Jesus can bring great strife into your life on a number of fronts. After all, when you become a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17) but stay in the same world as before, it’s kind of like trying to force a square peg into a round hole: you just don’t fit it…or at the very least, you don’t fit in easily.
Existing relationships tend to be the first area of life to be affected by your transformation, and that is what Jesus is addressing in this passage. If you read on into verses 35 and 36 you find a list of those relationships and they are at the center of the home. Fathers & sons…mothers & daughters…mother-in-laws & daughter-in-laws. “A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household” (v. 36). In some cases the animosity is very pronounced, but for most of us, the division is subtler.
Jesus offers peace between God and man. He offers peace between Christians, too. But the only thing He has for the world system is a sword. This is a Jesus we don’t hear about very often. This is a Jesus who is Lord, Judge, and King. This is a Jesus who makes war in the heavenly realms and one day, soon, that war will come to earth. No friends, being drafted into the Army of God is not about wearing your “Sunday Best” and singing your favorite hymns with all the other prim & proper Christians. Jesus said it’s about taking up a cross daily and denying yourself and following Him (Lk. 9:23).
Remember: to those who are perishing we are the aroma of death (2 Cor. 2:16), and that’s not a pretty picture. But remember! Even when you are experiencing the cuts you must do so with a sweet, loving, and gentle spirit. Don’t delight in the division that the Gospel brings into your life. Don’t get mad. Don’t be offended. Re-visit the Beatitudes on a regular basis to get your compass back on True North.
When they hate you…love them back. When they curse you…pray for them. When they shun you…remember your eternal family. When it hurts the most…thank God for the Prince of Peace who has already rescued you.