MATTHEW 10:34-36: “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’” NKJV
OBSERVATION: Does the truth of God’s Word bring peace – or – a sword? Why does our culture seem to be increasingly tolerant of every tenant of faith and personal belief – except Christianity? Are politics really the cause of the cataclysmic divide in our country, or is it something else?
The concept of the message of the Jesus and the gift of peace are greatly misunderstood. The principles of the Bible, when proclaimed to a fallen world that is ruled by the enemy (until Jesus Christ returns), brings a sword of division rather than the pathway to peace and utopia. Why is this?
The pathway to true peace is not found in a political manifesto. The pathway to true peace is found in the heart of one who repents of their sin and embraces Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. And, this is where the rub is. People don’t like to deal with their sin. In our culture today, more than a political divide, we have a moral divide.
The ruling Jewish classes during Jesus’ day were content in their position of power and with their lifestyle of hypocrisy. They covered their sin and their need for a savior with their outward show of piety. However, they lacked the true righteousness that only comes through heartfelt repentance and faith in God. When Jesus challenged their institutions and their personal lives, He became enemy number one of the state.
The truth always divides. When light is shined upon darkness, those who are reveling in the darkness are not happy. Before I gave my life to Jesus Christ I would party and drink with my friends. When I committed my life to Christ, and when I was invited to party with them, I answered by inviting them to church. It did not take long for our friendship to be dropped like a hot potato. The truth of the Gospel, even when shared in the most loving and innocent of ways, divides!
Jesus came to restore us in relationship with the Father. When we are forgiven by God’s grace, when we are given the privilege of becoming sons and daughters of God, we enter into His peace. Peace is not something we attain, it is something we are given. It is a living and loving relationship with the Creator of the Universe through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. We enter this relationship through the Cross. We must die to ourselves so that we can live in Christ. He is our peace!
- “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2 NKJV
So, is it Jesus’ mission to break up families? Absolutely not! In fact, Jesus Christ is the only hope for peace in the family. Yet, let us be perfectly clear, the Gospel will divide, and it can even divide families. Our call of devotion to Christ supersedes our call to our friends, our families, and even our own lives. This is what Jesus means when He says,
- “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 10:37-39 NKJV
There may come times when we will have to stand up for God’s truth even if it means being estranged from friends and family members. We will be accused of being intolerant and unloving. However, we are called to a higher love. It is the love of God and faithfulness to His Word. In this day of rampant compromise, even in the church, to stand for the truth, even in love, is seen as a hate crime. The question is – are we willing to count the cost in order to be faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ?
During World War II many Christians in Germany turned a blind eye to the atrocities of the Third Reich. Those who took a stand and spoke out the truth of God’s Word were rejected by their friends and families, imprisoned, and killed. Throughout history, those who have stood up and proclaimed the unwavering Gospel of Jesus Christ, have been ridiculed, marginalized, and persecuted. What will history have to say about our generation as we stand as the light of God’s truth in an ever darkening world?
Lord, I don’t like it when people reject me for standing up for the truth. Like everyone else, I want to be loved and accepted. Yet, I want to be loved, accepted, and faithful to You above all else. Grant me the grace to love You more than life itself. Give me the courage to stand for Your truth. Let me be like Daniel and his three friends who were willing to pay the ultimate price rather than compromise their faith.
Help me to take up my cross and follow You!
In Jesus Name!