“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, ESV)
Wow, sounds cold and harsh to our modern ears, doesn’t it?! You probably won’t hear this passage preached too often. It definitely doesn’t seem to fit our current culture. It also seems completely counter to so many other quotes from Jesus, such as, “Blessed are the peace makers for they shall be called the sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9, ESV)
So, what could Jesus mean?
Well, if you look at Jesus’ life and ministry, His ministry defined His “sword.” It forced a line in the sand; and on each side of the line were two different kinds of people. In one camp, there were the religious, and in the other, there were those hungry for something real from God.
So, the division of which Jesus spoke had little to do with violence or physical weaponry, but the differentiation of hearts His Gospel would bring. Jesus came to do one thing; set people free to become whom God intended them to be from the beginning. He would not do it by coercion or manipulation, as the religious would, but simply by the draw of His love.
Today, trust God. Believe that He’s truly for you and the story for which you were born. His cross says that He holds nothing against you, but you are free to begin life today. And no matter how long it takes, He’s glad to walk it out with you!