The Ambitions of Jesus (4): Bringing a Sword  

Jesus gave many reasons for His arrival on this planet. We’ve seen that He came to fulfil scripture and to call sinners to repentance.

The Ambitions of Jesus (4): Bringing a Sword

 In this post we will consider that

He came to Bring a Sword

 Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword” (Matthew 10:34; cp. Luke 12:51).

The Lord Jesus Christ is the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). At His coming angels announced “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:13-14). Jesus instructed his followers to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39) and, even more radically, “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44). As ever, He led by example. When Jesus’ enemies came to arrest Him, Peter took up a sword to defend his Lord, and Jesus rebuked him: “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:52). Jesus then healed the man Peter had wounded.

It seems clear that Jesus did come to bring peace. His blood, shed on the cross, would lay a righteous foundation for people to have peace with God (Colossians 1:20). The punishment to bring peace to us was laid upon Him (Isaiah 53:5). As a result, anyone who trusts the Lord Jesus is “justified by faith” and has “peace with God” through Him (Romans 5:1). Not only so but the Bible predicts a future kingdom of peace when Jesus will, ultimately, bring peace and prosperity to this troubled earth: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4).

However, Jesus himself said that, in some sense, he did not come to “bring peace but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). How is this to be understood? Jesus is speaking of the demands of discipleship. He went on to say that He would “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” (Matthew 10:35-36).

Jesus came to this world out of love for sinners. He calls sinners to come as they are lost and condemned  to Him. However, He does not leave them as they are. He transforms them, which distinguishes them from others. Unfortunately, relatives often resent this profession of faith and the life change it brings. As a result some new Christians are ostracised, verbally abused, or physically mistreated. Others find that friends or family members are deeply hurt or offended at their choice to trust Christ and their decisions to honour Him. 

No one likes to experience suffering or emotional pressure from family members. So, some believers are tempted not to follow the Lord wholeheartedly. Why should they experience such suffering? Surely there must be a mistake! It couldn’t be the Lord’s will for them to suffer, could it? 

Well, Jesus said that He “did not come to bring peace but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). He is letting His followers know that they should not retreat, give in, or give up. The Lord loved us enough to die for us; He has no delight in our pain and suffering. However, He demands our wholehearted allegiance. He said, “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” (Matthew 10:37-38). We are called to honour the Lord above everything and this will, almost certainly, bring us trouble.

It is eternally beneficial to trust Christ as Saviour and it is supremely satisfying to honour Him as Lord. No one should allow any influence in this world to dissuade them from following the Lord Jesus. Why? Because “he who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39). Lost relationships in this world will be more than compensated for by your relationship with Christ, both now and forever. 

So, for many, Jesus’ coming brings a sword. They may have peace with God, peace in their spirits, perfect peace to look forward to in the future, but they don’t enjoy peace from the world. They are persecuted, vilified, abused. To all such the Lord Jesus would say: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid . . . These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 14:27; 16.33).