How are you doing?
Would you be so kind to explain to me the meaning of Matthew
What did Jesus mean that He came to bring
not peace but a sword?
Many blessings to you,
Merry Christmas and yeah, I'm doing fine thanks!
Hope things are well with you.
Matthew 10:34-36 Do not
suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come
to bring peace, but a sword. (35) For I have come to turn " 'a man
against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law
against her mother-in-law-- (36) a man's enemies will be the members
of his own household.'
It is important to read this in the
context of what the Jewish expectation of the Messiah was at the time.
The Jews believed that when the Messiah came He would bring in peace.
They were looking for the Messiah that would setup His kingdom and
fulfill the great prophecies like Isaiah 11:1-11. Even today the
Rabbi's still use this as an argument for why Jesus can't be the
Messiah. For example:
Rabbi Tovia Singer argues, “If Jesus were
the Messiah, you would know it from reading the newspaper, because the
front page, instead of being about wars, would be about peace. But
since Jesus’ time until today, more than one hundred and twenty
million people have died in wars.”
In addition, Rabbi Yossi
Mizrachi says that when the Messiah will come, “There will be no more
wars in the world, everyone will dwell in peace and the wolf shall
dwell with the lamb.”
Jesus of course knew exactly what His first coming was for, and also
what would happen at His second. He knew that He came first of all to
die for the sins of mankind (thus bringing the believer peace with
God) and it would not be until His return at the second coming that He
would bring the peace to Israel and the world that was hoped for at
So in Mathew 10:34-36 Jesus was expressing this
misunderstanding about His first coming. It wasn't one that would
bring the peace that many expected but one that would bring division.
It would actually turn one against another, even within families. That
was the case for first century believers and is still the case today.
If a Jew believes in Jesus and departs from Judaism they can be cut
off from the family. Same with Hindus (although this can get more
violent). Muslim believers who depart Islam and become a Christian can
even be tried for blasphemy and executed in some countries! So Jesus
was stating the reality of what faith in Him would mean for many. It
is not that He desires division or conflict, but He knew that would be
the result for many who believed in Him.
Now we shouldn't think that Jesus was talking about a literal 'sword'
or inciting violence like Muhammad did though. He was talking about
the division believing in His name would bring and the need to be
willing to make and suffer that cost. That is why He goes on to say:
Matthew 10:37-38 Anyone who loves his father or mother more than
me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than
me is not worthy of me; (38) and anyone who does not take his cross
and follow me is not worthy of me.
Following Jesus, for many, is a dangerous and risky proposition. Then
and now. It brings division within families and even communities in
many cases. But that is the price believers need to be willing to pay.
Also have a look here:
Hope this helps,