Peace or a Sword? 5/14/20

“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)

These words of Jesus may come as a surprise to some. After all, isn’t Jesus the man of peace, who loves everyone, who wants everyone to be happy, who would never judge anyone? That’s the Jesus the world has created, but that’s not the real Jesus of the Bible. But Jesus also said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” Is this a contradiction?

Jesus was speaking about peace in two different contexts. First, He did promise us peace with God. Outside of Christ, we have no peace with God. In fact, the Bible tells us in numerous places that we are slaves to sin, that we are the enemy of God, and that we live under God’s wrath. It is Christ’s death on the cross that purchased our salvation, purchased our freedom from sin, and purchased our peace with God. When we come to Christ, when God saves us, we then have peace with God and receive all of the blessings that flow from that healed relationship.

Second, Jesus did promise that we would not have peace with the world. Jesus said, “I have said these things that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation.” Why is that? “If the world hates you, know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.  … If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:18-20) The darkness of the world lost in sin hates the light of Christ and the righteousness of God, and it hates those who belong to Christ.

This comes from more than having different values concerning abortion, sexual immorality, marriage, and the family. It comes from the light of Christ that the Holy Spirit produces in the believer. It comes from living a righteous, godly life in the midst of a sinful world. It comes, not from being arrogant or obnoxious, but from modesty, humility, love, forgiveness, and an uncompromising commitment to be holy as God has called us to be. This righteous behavior offends the world because God’s light is then cast on their sin.

Jesus brought a sword in our relationship with the world, but He also brought peace in our relationship with God. Amen.

Pastor Mike

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