Explaining Matthew 10:34
Matthew 10:34 (KJV) states,
34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword.
For most people, this is a very troubling thing to read in the Bible. People tend to immediately assume the worst. But in order to truly understand what this verse is saying, we must look beyond the words. Jesus often spoke in parables to get his point across.
Looking back at the creation of man, we were created with one key component that makes peace a very hard thing to acquire: free will. We all have our own pattern of thinking, and free will gives us the option to believe the truth, and to follow the truth. So when Jesus said, “…but with a sword,” that did not mean that he was here to slay anyone—it means that each and every day will be a battle, specifically for Christians. Christians will suffer struggles and persecutions for their faith, especially in a world like today. In saying that, Jesus couldn’t bring peace on Earth, unless he infringed upon the human’s ability of free will.
Not only that, but in Matthew 26:51, when Jesus is being taken away to be crucified, one of his disciples drew his sword, and took off an ear of a servant of the high priest. In this event, Jesus told him to put his sword away, because he would perish with a sword likewise (that is, if he finished what he started). Jesus is God. If he truly wanted to, he could command angels from Heaven to save him (Matthew 26:51), but that would defeat the purpose of all of this, which is to die on the cross and suffer all of the sins of man so that we all have a chance at everlasting life. Jesus is called the Giver of Life (Psalm 36:9), and he is also called the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
The troublesome and worries are the same for the following verses:
35 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.
36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
37 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.
38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
So the point of the above verses is not that Jesus is trying to destroy households. This is a continuation of Matthew 10:34. Many times, our own families will be our persecutors. A sword! Our friends and our family that don’t believe in Christ will attack our faith. They will each draw their own sword. There is not any peace in a family at war with itself, but there is peace when Jesus is our salvation.
In the end, yes, Jesus wants to provide us with peace, but we first have to find him. Jesus could not come and force peace in the Earth, and save all of mankind from his own sin. He had to come and suffer on the cross. He had to rise again. He had to ascend into Heaven to be with the Father, to be on our side when we are judged. Peace cannot come on earth, but it’s abundant in Heaven. He knew we, as Christians, will suffer persecution as we walk throughout every day for our beliefs, but only through these trials and tribulations can we find peace in him when we make it to Heaven. But until then, we need to stand tall and strong, and be ready for the battles to come.