There is a VERY disturbing text in Matthew 10 where Jesus says something almost unbelievable. Here it is:
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn
a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” (Matt 10:34-39, NIV)
Time out. I thought Jesus was the Prince of Peace? Didn’t he say, “My peace I give to you?” Multiple times, he dismisses people by saying, “go in peace.” He even offered a special gift by saying, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called Children of God.” (Matt 5:9)
But now we have Jesus proclaiming the OPPOSITE sentiment. I did NOT come to bring peace, but a sword.
The Peacemaker becomes the peace-breaker.
The one who heals families actually makes them at war with each other
What is going on here?
I think Jesus is saying that following me will mean that some people in your own family won’t understand your decision. Some will mock you and laugh. Others will be angry. And the rest of them will debate in your absence the soundness of your mind and the radical level of your devotion to God.
Jesus is NOT saying that you can’t have internal peace. He’s talking about the peace of a family system. We all know that we have different people who think different things in our family systems. That family system – including aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc. What Jesus is saying is that HE is a controversial person. Even to this day, there is a lot of debate about him. Families often lose their sense of peace at the point of someone in the family making a serious commitment to Jesus.
Questions to consider:
- What do YOU think Jesus is trying to say here?
- If a friend brought you all of the scriptures I listed here, how would you explain it – Jesus says, “I leave you my peace” but also says, “I didn’t bring to bring peace.” How do you reconcile that?
- Is there any strife in your own family surrounding your decision (or someone else’s) to follow Jesus? Are there ‘sides’?
- What can you do as a ‘peacemaker’ to help function like a peacemaker in your family system?
Pray today that God would heal your family and that they would begin to appreciate others in the family, even though they’re very different. It CAN be done. I pray for you about that this Christmas.