July 13, 2020
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword.” (Matthew 10:34)
I wish it hadn’t been Jesus who said this. It would be much easier to explain if it had been David or one of the great warrior saints who made this bold statement. But it was, in fact, Jesus.
Jesus didn’t come to bring peace? How many times do we hear Him say, “Peace be with you”? And didn’t He chastise Peter for striking the Roman soldier on the ear with a sword at the time of His arrest?
What is Jesus trying to tell us? He is telling us that the peace to which He is calling us will not come by virtue of uttering a few magic words or waving a wand. It will be a battle. It will be a battle because Jesus’ message is counter-cultural. People don’t want to turn over control to Him. They don’t want to take their focus off of themselves and turn it toward God and others. They like things the way they are.
There are strong, deeply rooted forces at work and much of the world has abandoned the Gospel message of love. Jesus does indeed call us to peace. But He recognizes that to get to that peace will take a mighty effort on the part of His followers.
If we sit back and watch, we lose. Jesus asks us to pick up our symbolic swords, the proclamation of the Gospel through word and deed, and fight for peace.