Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword. − Matthew 10:34.
So says the Lord Jesus. This is a very strange saying by the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6b), who also, on the night preceding His death, said to His disciples: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you” (John 14:27.) We know of a certainty that He brought peace to us: peace with God, whom we had offended and provoked to wrath, peace of heart and conscience, as confirmed by the Apostle Paul in Romans 5, where he declared: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 1). This is a spiritual peace, a peace inseparably connected with “the Gospel of peace” (Romans 10:15b) because “the Lord hath laid on Him [the Messiah, the Savior, Christ Jesus] the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6b).
Jesus did not come to send a worldly, political peace on earth, a peace that conflicts with the truth of the Gospel of peace and faith in that saving Gospel. On the contrary, where the Gospel is preached, taught, and supported in its purity, and where precious souls truly believe, cling to, and defend this Gospel, there “sword” and war loom, brought on by such as refuse to believe and accept the Gospel of peace. In back of these unbelievers stands the old evil foe, the “father” of lies, “the devil” himself (John 8:44). And such “sword” severs the most intimate ties. The unbelieving son is set “at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:35-37).
We must willingly bear this sadness for the sake of our Savior, “who loved [us] and gave Himself for [us]” (Galatians 2:20b). We dare not, for the sake of outward peace and harmony with friends and relatives, deny our only Savior, despise His saving Gospel of peace, disregard the totally trustworthy counsel and instruction of His Word, or foolishly place our faith in something or someone other than Him, “the one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all” (I Timothy 2:5b-6a).
PRAYER – My dear Savior, I thank Thee for having merited the true, everlasting peace with God for me. When discord and ridicule come my way because of my confidence in Thee and in thy Word, remind me of the priceless words of the Apostle Paul: “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). Amen.