Not Peace, But a Sword


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. -Matthew 10:34-39
Do you ever struggle to make sense of the seemingly contradictory statements in the Bible?  One of those statements is found in the above reading.  Jesus said, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”  What’s going on here? 
I recently read an inspiring story about a doctor and triple amputee who suffered a terrible accident in college, losing one arm and both of his legs.  As he retold his story, I was struck by the decisive decisions his doctors took in order to save his life.  In order for his body to recover and be healed, violent and dramatic actions were required.  If the limbs weren’t taken, he’d lose his life. 
Sometimes the healing that we desperately need requires violent and decisive action. 
Jesus is without question the Prince of Peace, yet for us to truly enter into His peace, we must allow Him to free us from the sickness and injury that threatens our very life and existence.  As Eugene Peterson puts it, “When Jesus said that he came to bring not peace but a sword he was talking of the peace that allows persons to vegetate in sins and the sword that separates us from them.”
The sword that Jesus carries is not meant for our destruction or harm, but is meant for our good!  It is a sword of healing and hope carried in the hands of a faithful and loving surgeon.  Jesus the Great Physician looks upon His sick children with compassion and love; and He invites us to come to Him to find healing for our wounds and rest for our souls.  However, He reminds us that while it will bring the peace we long for, it will be painful and costly. 
Sometimes for us to be healed from our sickness we must call out the dysfunction and brokenness within our own families. We must invite the Lord Jesus into the most intimate and vulnerable places within our relationships, and within our own hearts.  When we do this, we find that there is no cost too high for the life that comes from following Jesus wherever He may lead!