Why did Jesus say “I came to bring a sword, not peace”?

This question was asked during a small group recently.

Matthew 10:34 NIV

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

Did Jesus really sat that? What about love and peace and stuff?

One thing that is very important when it comes to understanding the Bible (or anything you read…) is context.

context
[kon-tekst]

-noun
1. what comes before or follows a word or statement and influences its meaning
2. Circumstances

You have to understand the circumstances in which something is written to understand what it means. Read before and after to see the meaning of this verse.

Read all of chapter 10 of Matthew.  This is the context: Jesus is sending out the twelve disciples on a training mission. He tells them to do the same things He does, tells them what to do. And then He tells them what to expect.

Jesus tells them to expect to be treated poorly by some people. He says they will be made fun of, called demon-possessed, arrested, brought to trial, and possibly even killed.

He also says that when they preach salvation in the kingdom of God, it will split families. And that is the meaning behind when he says, “I bring a sword, not peace.” It means that this is not the gospel of kumbaya-hippie-love-everybody-be-happy, but a gospel(message of good news) that will cause true repentance(changing course/ turning in a new direction away from old ways). And part of that will result in families and friendships and relationships  being broken as people turn from themselves and turn to God.

We join a war of the soul. Our swords are the Word of God and the Holy Spirit inside of us.

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