Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
Matthew 10:34-40 KJV
This passage today stirred me. We all talk traditionally about the dangers of divisions but there is a specific realm where this passage,that foretell the unavoidable divisions that come when we follow Christ. To understand these Words of Jesus we must examine them and relate to them in the context of our generation.
I am not come…
Jesus starts by dismissing any misconception concerning His Mission. If we associate His Mission with bringing peace we are at best mistaken. At worst we are deceived.
We must be very careful in our interpretation in that the manifestation of peace can only come within the framework of Kingdom. The Kingdom according to the Parable of the Pounds in Luke 19, must be made of subjects who will have the Master reign over them. The Kingdom has only one King who can reign over us.
That is the key over Luke 19, the decisions of the subjects who hated their master and sent after him a message; “we will not have you reign over us.”
The implication is that if we do not accept the REIGN of Christ we automatically come under the reign of satan.
2 Corinthians 12 Paul the Apostle details the fact that the manifestation of the Kingdom as peace and joy in the Holy Spirit ! This means that these realities only come in the boundary of the Kingdom of God, whom Jesus is King.
So Jesus in Matthew 10 is saying that His Peace is not some blanket imposition. It must be entered into by faith and subjection to the King!
I have come to set at variance…
Very strong implication that the Kingdom comes in collision with the worldly system and the families inserted into it. The life to follow Jesus will provoke a response on many levels. It will actually in some cases break relationships when those who refuse to submit to Christ come against those who seek to follow Him.
This hits firmly in the family and here the choice for the new believer is to decide if the life of Christ is more precious than compromise.
In fact enemies can appear in our own families because of the radical call of Jesus.
In this context when we suffer these things and continue to live for Christ after suffering these things measure up as sons and subjects. There is a testimony that Jesus gives for us before the Father!
He that takes not his cross…
Verse 38 is the whole context for this saying how tough it was for his disciples. The cross and its personal application to us brings these effects. Paul says the cross is foolishness and humiliation in the eyes of the world. The world cannot comprehend it.
Note the cross is no longer Jesus’ but ours…read again…”he that takes not his cross”. Jesus has prepared a taylor made cross for us.
That cross is prepared by Christ because in it we follow Him. This level is the 2nd level in our following Him. Our first is akin to Abraham who left country and family behind not only physically but in his affections. This is the 2nd level. It entails understanding where we need to go. We give over our lives in the suffering for pursuing Him. In not withholding He does not withhold from us!
The Cross is the end of me, the beginning of Jesus in me! Through me.
Paul said ” it is no longer I that live but Christ that lives in me.”
I have come to bring a sword…
The Sword of the Lord is a two edged sword. It has 2 applications. The first is that for those who believe and follow Him it cuts covenant. It brings us into relationship and destiny. Also it cuts off our enemies. It brings authority and power if it is wielded right.
All this to say that we are living days of malignant division but there is also a division coming in God. In Ezekiel there was a division made, and appears also in Revelation too. God’s Angel’s are going out now to seal those who God has reserved for His elect in the end days.
The seal shows the spiritual realm that we are His by covenant. Once we know the sword of the Lord in our lives, once we submit to the Cross we will be sealed!
This seal makes us a terror to the enemy. We see in both Ezekiel and Revelation that when the angels seal it means impending judgment.
These are the birth pangs of the end.