34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
These are strange words from the gentile Jesus. Of course they are only strange for those who have a misguided or distorted view of Jesus. There have been some who have made claims that people in the world love Jesus but hate the church. The problem with believing such claims is we don’t know which Jesus they are loving. When you ask questions of them you find that they love the moral Jesus of the Sermon on the Mount, or the gentle Jesus who would not cast a stone at the woman caught in adultery, or the social justice Jesus who healed the sick and fed the hungry. These same people never seem to speak about the Jesus who turned the tables of the merchants in the temple, or the Jesus who strongly rebuked people for their unbelief, or the Jesus who explained that unless they place their faith in him and him alone they are under God’s condemnation and wrath. So these have a distorted view of Jesus because they only want to see Jesus in the light of their own desires, not in the full, multi-faceted picture of Jesus given to us in the gospels. This is the case here also. Many are promised by pastors, evangelists, and generally good meaning people that their life will get better if they would just come to Jesus. If they would turn to him and get saved he would solve all their problems. But, when we consider the words of Jesus himself what we find is just the opposite. What is promised by Jesus is that there will be troubles, particularly troubles in the home. A son gets saved and now his father disowns him, a daughter gets saved and her mother despises her. These are troubles that happen even now when one family member comes to Christ and the other doesn’t it causes conflict, trouble, and difficulties. This is the promise of Jesus because this life is not supposed to be filled with sunny days all the time, no this life is to be filled with trials that set our hope on the life to come. Our best days are not now, but when we stand in the presence of God. So don’t look for peace in this world, look to the one who gave you peace with God, put your hope in him and then look for that day when he will come again to rescue you from the trials of this world.