Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Peace or Sword?
Volume 7 No. 443 October 27, 2017
 
III. Featured Articles

Did Jesus Come to Bring Peace or Not?

by Matt Slick

Scripture: Matthew 10:34; Luke 2:14; 22:36 and Mark 9:50; John 14:27; 16:33; Acts 10:36

No Peace

(Matthew 10:34-36) - "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35"For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household."

(Luke 12:51,52) - "Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; 52for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two, and two against three..."

(Luke 22:36) - "And He said to them, "But now, let him who has a purse take it along, likewise also a bag, and let him who has no sword sell his robe and buy one."

Peace

(Mark 9:50) - "Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."

(John 14:27) - "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

(John 16:33) - "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace..."

(Acts 10:36) - "The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)."

Context is the key to Jesus' words. In Matthew 10:34, Jesus is speaking about the divisions that will come, even among family members, over their belief or lack of belief about Him. In that respect, He has come to bring division. This context is also related in Luke 12:51.

Luke 22:36 Jesus is preparing the disciples for His departure. He is telling them that they will need to provide for themselves and even protect themselves. Up to that time, everything they had needed had been provided. But, after the crucifixion and ascension, they would again be "on their own." They would need to work, provide for their families, and, if need be, protect their own; hence, the mention of the sword. Of course, the Bible teaches that Christians are to be peaceful, loving, and forgiving; however, it also teaches that we are not required to sit idly by when persecuted unrighteously.

The rest of the "peace" verses, teach just that: peace.

Jesus did not contradict Himself. When we look at His words in context, we can see what He was saying and that there is no contradiction at all.

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.

Source: Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry

Jesus Came to Bring a Sword?

by Greg Boyd

Jesus said: "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword" (Mt 10:34).

Some, both modern scholars along with church leaders since the fourth century, have used this passage as evidence to argue that Jesus is not altogether non-violent.

When we place Matthew 10:34 in its broader context, it becomes clear that Jesus' teaching not only does not condone violence on the part of his disciples, it actually rules out all violence. As Jesus is preparing his disciples to proclaim the Good News of the arrival of the kingdom of God throughout the region, he warns them that he is sending them out "like sheep among wolves" (Mt 10:16, cf. vv. 5-15). He tells them they will be "handed over to the local council," "flogged in synagogues," and "brought before governors and kings" (vv. 17-18). Moreover, Jesus warns them that their ministry is going to upset the entire social order. "Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child," while "children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death" (v. 21). And, Jesus adds, "[y]ou will be hated by everyone because of me" (v. 22). If the master is persecuted and called "Beelzebul," he says, his servants must expect the same (vv. 21-3). But in all this the disciples are to trust their heavenly Father, even when they face death (vv. 26-31). Jesus then stresses the importance of disciples fearlessly proclaiming the message he has given them, telling them that he will "acknowledge before my Father in heaven" everyone who "acknowledges me before others" (v. 32). On the other hand, Jesus will "disown before my Father in heaven" anyone who "disowns me before others" (v. 33).

It is at this point that Jesus tells his disciples, "I did not come to bring peace, but a sword" (v. 34). When understood in its broader context, it is apparent that Jesus is simply using the image of the sword as a hyperbolic metaphor for the division that the message of the kingdom would bring, which, significantly enough, is how Luke interprets this metaphor (Lk 12:51-2). Jesus is simply telling his disciples not to be surprised or intimidated by the fact that the message of the kingdom is going to cause social upheaval and may even divide the disciples' own households and result in their martyrdom.

This point is further driven home in the passages that immediately follow this teaching and that clarify its meaning. Jesus first quotes the prophet Micah who spoke of a similar time of social upheaval in Israel. Jesus declares that the message of the kingdom of God will set…

a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law

a man's enemies will be the members of his own household
(Mt 10:35-6, cf. Micah 7:6).

And then, again driving home the urgency of remaining faithful to Jesus even when being rejected by one's own family, Jesus tells his disciples that if anyone "loves their father or mother more the me" they are "not worthy of me" (v. 37). So too, he adds, "[w]hoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me," and "[w]hoever finds their life will lose it," while "whoever loses their life for my sake will find it" (vv. 38-9).

This is the "sword" that Jesus brings to the world. And it is clear that, while this "sword" involves not only division, but violence, none of the violence is carried out by the "sheep" Jesus is sending out. It is rather carried out by "wolves" who engage in violence against the "sheep," which is precisely why Jesus instructs his disciples to be fearless in the face of death and to take up their cross, as he himself would do in the near future.

In this light, I think it is apparent that those who have appealed to this passage to justify violence throughout history were twisting it to fit their own violent aspirations. And this is confirmed by the fact that it never occurred to anyone to use this passage in this way until the church tragically aligned itself with the power of the State, and thus with the power of the sword, in the fourth and fifth centuries.

Source: reknew.org

The Gospel Of Peace

By Andrew Wommack

Most Christians today have not been able to take full advantage of their redemption because of a lack of understanding God's grace. They believe God has the power to meet their needs, but they doubt God's willingness to use that power on their behalf because they know they aren't what they should be. In other words, they feel that their sin stops God's grace. But that's not what God's Word teaches.

Under the New Covenant that Jesus put into effect, right standing with God comes as a free gift to everyone who will believe (Rom. 4:3-5, 5:18). Yet the faith to believe is tied to the knowledge we have (2 Pet. 1:3-4). If we think our performance is a qualification for God's blessing, then we'll never walk in God's best — not because we doubt God's ability but because we are all too aware of our inability. But this is where the good news of the gospel comes in. God doesn't need our ability, just our positive response to His ability.

Hebrews 10:1-2 says that because of the sacrifice of Jesus, we should have no more consciousness of sin. What a statement! God isn't holding our sins against us. Our slate is clean, but most Christians haven't realized it. We are still conscious of our sins, but God isn't.

There is an amazing scripture in Isaiah 54:9-10. The Holy Spirit was prophesying through the prophet Isaiah about the New Covenant that you and I live in. He compared this New Covenant to the covenant that God made with Noah. He said, "For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee."

Think about that! God's covenant with Noah that the world would never again be destroyed by a flood was not dependent upon the inhabitants of the world being worthy of such a favor. If that covenant would have been conditional, then the earth would have been destroyed by floods many times. That was an unconditional promise. Likewise, our New Covenant is not dependent on us meeting any conditions other than faith in Jesus.

The Lord said that in the same way that He made an unconditional promise to Noah, so He has sworn that He would never be angry with us nor rebuke us. Praise the Lord! That's good news! That's grace! He goes on to say in Isaiah 54:10 that the mountains and hills will someday be removed, but He will never remove His covenant of peace from us. God's favor toward us is more steadfast than the mountains and hills. What a covenant!

© 1997-2012 Andrew Wommack Ministries 

Did Jesus Come to Bring Peace - or Turmoil?

by Caleb Colley, Ph.D.

Militant, violent, religious extremists have caused legitimate concern for America's security. In Palestine, on the very soil Jesus walked, people kill each other in warfare motivated by religion. Do the teachings of Christ authorize or encourage such behavior? In John 14:27, Jesus said: "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." Some have charged that Jesus' promise of peace in that verse contradicts His message in Matthew 10:34: "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword." Did Jesus come to Earth to bring peace - or turmoil?

Based on scriptural evidence, it is indisputable that Jesus wants His followers to have peace. The words "Christ" and "peace" are found together in the same verse no less than 24 times in the New King James Version. Consider Philippians 1:2: "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Corinthians 1:2 reads: "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." Paul urged the Thessalonians, "Be at peace among yourselves" (1 Thessalonians 5:13). The message of Christ is called "the gospel of peace" (Ephesians 6:15), and Philippians 4:7 says that the peace of God "surpasses all understanding" and that peace will guard the hearts and minds of Christians. Jesus, Who is called the Prince of Peace in Isaiah 9:6, most definitely came to bring peace.

Could it also be that Jesus came to bring turmoil? Certainly. In the context of Matthew 10:34, Jesus was explaining to His disciples that the Gospel, in some cases, would cause division. A son would believe in Jesus, but his father might not. A mother would believe, but her daughter might refuse even to hear the Gospel. In Matthew 10:37-38, Jesus presented a hard truth: "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me." Richard Lenski offered insight into the implications of the "turmoil" brought by Christ:

The idea is this: if Christ had not come, the earth would have gone on undisturbed in its sin and its guilt until the day of its doom. Now Christ came to take away that sin and that guilt. At once war resulted, for in their perversion men clung to their sin, fought Christ and the gospel, and thus produced two hostile camps. Christ foresaw this effect and willed it. Emphatically He declared that He came to throw a sword on the earth. Better the war and the division, saving as many as possible, than to let all perish in their sin (1943, p. 415).

Many react with hostility to the Gospel. This is not because Christ's teaching promotes hostility (see Matthew 5:44; 7:12; John 13:14; 13:35), but because Jesus' teachings are highly controversial. In Matthew 10:34, Jesus did not mean to suggest that His purpose was to bring hostility or turmoil, but that hostility would, in some cases, be an effect of His teaching (Barnes, 1949, p. 115). It always will be the case that some people will respond negatively to Christ's teachings, for some always will prefer spiritual darkness to the light of Jesus (John 3:19). Christ, Who came to Earth to bring both peace and turmoil, never contradicted Himself.

REFERENCES

Barnes, Albert (1949), Notes on the New Testament: Matthew and Mark (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).

Lenksi, Richard C. H. (1943), The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg).

Source: Apologetics Press
Copyright © 2004 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

Did Jesus Come to Bring Peace on Earth?

by Don Stewart

When the angel announced the birth of Jesus, the host of heaven appeared with Him and praised God in these familiar words.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men
(Luke 2:14).

Jesus is also called the "Prince of Peace." The prophet Isaiah wrote:

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

The question then arises: Did Jesus come to earth to bring peace? If so, then He failed in His mission because the world has not known peace since His coming.

There Is A Different Reading Of The Text

First, it should be noted that the text in Luke should read a little differently.

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom He favors!

The peace promised is not to every person but rather those whom God favors.

He Came To Bring Peace To Believers Only

Jesus has promised peace to believers.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27).

The Apostle Paul wrote of God's peace.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

There Will Not Be Peace For Everyone

The idea of Jesus coming to earth for the purpose of bringing a lasting peace is contrary to His words. Although one of the designations of Jesus is the "Prince of Peace," His first coming was not for the purpose of bringing peace on earth. He made this clear.

I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to 'set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.' And 'a man's foes will be those of his own household' (Matthew 10:34-36).

According to His own words Jesus came to testify of the truth.

Pilate asked him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice (John 18:37).

People Must Make A Choice Regarding Jesus

The nature of Jesus' message called for people to make a choice. Rather than uniting humanity, it divided friends and families. It still has that effect today. Those who believe in Jesus are separated from those who do not believe. His mission was not that of bringing peace but rather bringing the truth of God.

There Will Be Universal Peace Someday

One day He will return and establish an everlasting kingdom where peace will be the rule rather than the exception. The prophet Isaiah wrote.

Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this (Isaiah 9:7).

Until that time the message of Jesus divides those who love God's truth from those who do not.

Summary

When Jesus Christ came to earth the angels announced that there would be peace. Jesus is called the, "Prince of Peace" yet there has been no peace for the world since He came. There are several reasons for this. First, the peace the angels promised were to those who have trusted Him - not to everyone. Believers can enjoy the peace of God. Second, Jesus Himself testified that His coming had the result of dividing people not uniting them. There will be peace on the earth but only when Christ returns.

Source: The Blue Letter Bible
©2017 Blue Letter Bible

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