Jesus With A Sword

Read: Matthew 10:34-36 & Luke 2:13-14

At the end of a year marked by war, when people have swung swords at each other, I’ve discovered something (surprising) about division in Scripture:

It isn’t a political party or mask mandate that ultimately divides people. It’s Jesus and his salvation.

“Do not think I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword… And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household” (Matt. 10:34, 36).

We like Jesus In The Manger and Jesus The Light Of The World, but we don’t often sing about Jesus With A Sword. Because where does “Peace on earth” sit on a landscape of families swordfighting each other? Why would angels herald Jesus with the song—

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased” (Luke 2:14, emphasis added)?

We treat “Peace on earth” like a blanket draped over all mankind, but the angels are clear: God sings “Peace, peace” over his own— those he’s called, redeemed, and now takes pleasure in. But “there is no peace for the wicked” (Isaiah 57:19, 21).

So we shouldn’t be surprised when rumors of wars turn into wars. King Jesus does more offending and dividing than any opposing parties. It’s Jesus who, in the end, will unleash a blood red horse “to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another” (Rev. 6:4). He will use the same sword that splits apart daughters and mothers and daughters-in-law and mothers-in-law (Matt. 10:35).

I think about my mom and her daughter-in-law and the peace they’ve always shared. I can’t imagine war there.

Ah, but that’s because light has broken through when angels filled up the sky. The arrival of Jesus— Prince of peace—both shatters and mends everything. And for those he’s chosen, that peace sews believers– families– together.

The arrival of Jesus— Prince of peace—both shatters and mends everything.

To Israel, who couldn’t see her sin, Jesus wielded a dangerous, blasphemous sword. “Peace among those with whom God is pleased” is only glorious to those who remember what it was like to be at war with God— yet have been transferred from enemy to brother. For them, Jesus’ sword has become a sewing needle that mends the breech and pulls them into peace with God.

At the end of a year marked by war, let’s rest in that peace— and invite others into it.

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