Monday, April 21, 2014
April 21: Jesus brings division
Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to 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 the members of his household. (Matthew 10:34-36 NET)
We often hear Jesus called the "Prince of peace," and He is. But in today’s passage Jesus points out another aspect of His ministry, the sword and turning one family member against another. For Jesus to be true to Himself and to the Father, this was a necessary and inevitable aspect of His life. Some people loved Him and had faith that they could be healed of any sickness and freed of any demon by seeking help from Him. But at the same time there were people that rejected His message and even wanted to kill Him. In the Kingdom of God there can be no peace without war, there can be no harmony without division. If we are holy and good we have to align ourselves with people and things that are holy and good, and have to separate ourselves from things that are unholy and bad.
Yes, Jesus came to bring peace, but He also came to bring war. His death on the cross and His resurrection were the greatest attacks on Satan and his kingdom that had ever been mounted, one that utterly defeated forever the power and control of Satan. But in the same way, His death and resurrection brought peace between us and God, and were the greatest examples of love the world had ever seen.
It is important to realize the cost of following the Lord Jesus. Since the world and most people in it are under the power of Satan, we can expect to be persecuted and rejected like Jesus was. We should do our very best to help relatives and friends to connect with God, but if they reject Him, we have to continue to be faithful to Him, even at the risk of losing them. We regret any division that is caused by following Jesus, and yet we know this is the price we have to pay. He is worth any sacrifice we make and any persecution we suffer.