Did Jesus Come to Turn People Against Each Other
Daily Reading: (Matthew 10:35):
“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.”
There is an old saying that if you want to have peace at Thanksgiving Dinner never talk about what…? Politics and religion. This verse when it is isolated by itself sounds a lot different from what many have thought about Jesus, did He really come to turn people against one another?
This is shocking what Jesus said. It most certainly isn’t what we picture in our minds of what Jesus came to do or the way we see in which how Jesus interacted with others. A great majority of believers don’t know what to do with this verse. Context is always vital to our understanding. What did Jesus have to say before and after this shocking statement, when we look at the whole of what Jesus said, then we will understand what His words here mean to us and actually help us when people, even loved ones persecute us for our faith in Jesus.
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). I thought Jesus said He gives us His peace? “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). So, did Jesus come to bring peace or a sword? The Messiah is prophesied in the Old Testament as a Lamb that would be slain for the sins of the world. By doing so He brought peace and reconciliation with God our Father not to the world but to only those who would believe and receive His sacrifice for them. This is why Jesus said not to the world, but to His disciples, the promise that He has given us His peace. We have it always, but here He says I have not come to bring peace, but a sword and He is speaking about the world.
Jesus is not speaking of a literal sword, in Revelation 19:15 it says, “Coming out of His mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations.“ When Jesus first appeared to John in a vision at Patmos, a sharp two-edged sword proceeded from Jesus’ mouth (Revelation 1:16). The returning King of kings and Lord of lords uses this sword to “strike down the nations.” Since the sword of the Lord represents His Word (Hebrews 4:12; Ephesians 6:17), it is reasonable to expect Jesus to mow down His foes with just a spoken word. He brought the world into existence by His speech (Hebrews 11:3), and He can assuredly destroy His enemies with just a word from His lips.
Jesus is speaking of a sword of truth, and truth is divisive. What happens as a result of Jesus who is the truth, coming to the world? ““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. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.”
People divide themselves by their response to Jesus, who He is, and what He came to do. When a Jewish believer was water baptized in the first century, they would be disowned by their family. They would receive a slap on the cheek, which was the deepest insult and they were they were put out of the Synagogue- separated forever from their family and their religious community. Everyone has a decision to make and that decision about Jesus would 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.’
Jesus said: “a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household” (Matthew 10:36). At this part Jesus is quoting from Micah 7:6. What this means is that the spirit of Christ can have no union with the spirit of the world.
Jesus’ mission wasn’t to turn people against each other, this is a byproduct of what happens from what Jesus’ mission did which is stated clearly in Luke 4:18-19: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Jesus’ mission was to set the captives free and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and this mission will turn people against each other.