July 1, 2018
Matthew 10:34-36… Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter in law against her mother in law. A person’s enemies will be those of his own household.
This statement was difficult to understand. When the angels announced Jesus’ birth, they shouted, “Peace on earth.” In today’s reading Jesus said, “I have not come to bring peace on earth.” In the Kingdom of God, Jesus’ kingdom, peace is prevalent. In the kingdom of this world, peace is elusive. We fight wars to try and attain it. Think about the absurdity of that. Peace, in God’s kingdom, is internal. Even in a war, God’s people have peace. Jesus explained this further.
John 14:27… Peace, I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
The peace Jesus offers us is different from the peace the world offers. The world offers peace with no conflict. Jesus offers peace in conflict.
John 16:33… I have said these things to you that, in me, you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.
It is a rude awakening when you discover that members of your own family resist your walk with God. When I was a young man, I had a casual relationship with Jesus. I followed Him but mostly from a distance. It was a quick decision to appear one with the world… a flip of a switch. My friends and family approved and many did the same.
But then I experienced God. No longer could I follow casually. I became passionate about Him and then my family and friends were a bit divided. Some still loved me; others did not. To their credit, I was not always loveable. I was judgmental of people who did not “sell out” to God as I had done. I did not know I was judgmental; I was told that. On one hand I was following Jesus with determination and passion; on the other hand, I was watching to see who else did that. It was not to be judgmental; it was to pick a tribe that I could run with. But, in the process, I discovered many enemies. Hmmmm… Jesus was right.