Peace: Day 27
Jesus Brings Peace — and Also a Sword
By Kate Zwiefelhofer
“Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.”
Matthew 10:34 NLT
Peace. The very word can settle my soul immediately. In fact, I have several “Peace” signs around my house in an array of Christmas colors and varieties of glitter. As one who has a very active mind that can often lead to worry or fear, the thought of the word “peace” brings me, well … peace.
But then Matthew 10:34 comes along and … what?
When you read this verse, it doesn’t exactly fill you with warm fuzzies. We utter the words “Peace on Earth” all Christmas long, but our vision doesn’t seem to be what Jesus has in mind here. The fact that He comes with a sword seems to mock the idea of peace.
What is going on here? What about “peace on earth, good will to men” (Luke 2:14)? Have the stories I’ve heard all these years been wrong? If Jesus didn’t come to bring peace, what does that mean for us?
God’s people, Israel, had been waiting for their promised Savior for many years. They were expecting a King who would rescue them from persecution and prove to their enemies that they were the strongest nation. Their “peace” would come once their King had overpowered their foes by military might.
But the peace Jesus came to bring would be different.
The “Prince of Peace” came primarily to bring us peace with God. Because of His sacrifice, we can be restored into a relationship of peace with our Creator (Romans 5:1). At the same time, our allegiance to Jesus will put us at odds with the world. Jesus warned us that just as the world rejected Him, it would also reject His followers (John 15:18). “Swords” are tools of conflict and separation. Accepting Jesus’ invitation to peace with God has a way of creating separation and conflict between us and the world that rejects God.
That’s why we have to read these words of Jesus alongside His other teachings on peace. Even though there may be strife between us and the world on account of our faith in Jesus, He Himself is our peace. While relationships, circumstances, and even our own thoughts may be anything but peaceful, we can have peace in our hearts because we are in harmony with the Father.
And that’s worth more than anything.
Jesus, help us to seek peace with You, not peace within this world. Grant us eyes to see as You see. As we continue in this season, may anything that hinders our relationship with You be cut off so that we become more like You.
Encourage a mom in a store who is dealing with child who is “melting down.”
Leave a basket of packaged snacks and cans of soda for delivery people at your front door with a note thanking them for their service.
Offer to foster a pet over the holidays for your local animal shelter.
What is stressing you out? Share with each other. Then pray that God would give you His peace this season. (Luke 1:29-30)