Not Peace, but a Sword

by Lee Buford on August 16, 2012

“Not Peace, but a Sword” … so the heading in my Bible reads.

Much is made of the love, compassion, grace, and mercy of Jesus, and rightly so. All are true … and so much more. However, it seems that we often fail to acknowledge the more severe, yet just, parts of the Bible, especially the ones that make us uncomfortable or at least a bit unsure about the potential implications of such verses for our own lives.

We love to talk about God’s love for His children, a love that is undeniably evident throughout scripture. But just as undeniable are His promises of tension, trials, and persecution for those for whom He has and demonstrates such love. We are assured that following Jesus will be no ‘walk in the park’ or easy road to travel. We read it, hear it, and see it, yet it remains somewhat of a foreign concept to most of us professing Christians living in the largely tolerant and accepting societies of North America. As a result, a good dose of reality serves well to remind us of the implications of our professions of faith.

The cost of following Jesus gets very real for me in Matthew 10. Just under the previously mentioned heading, “Not Peace, but a Sword,” we read the following in verses 34-39:

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

That’s tension, certain conflict, and challenging truth for the comfort-seeking senses in all of us, to say the least. That’s ‘real world’ in its truest form, and ‘real world’ is just the reminder I need most of the time. Maybe it’s a good reminder for you as well.

The reward is exponentially better than the cost, and He is worthy of any price we’re asked to pay. But there is indeed a price to be paid … a very real and costly price. May we always be mindful of that reality.

Not Peace, but a Sword…



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