Readers Question / Comment - Why did Jesus say He came to bring a sword
to the earth?
How are you doing?
Would you be so kind to explain
to me the meaning of Matthew 10:34-36, please?
Many blessings to you,
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 comes 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:
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
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 that time.
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. And we shouldn't think that Jesus
was talking about a literal 'sword' or inciting violence like Muhammad
did. 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:
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.
Jesus, for many, is a dangerous and risky proposition. Then and now. It brings
division within families. But that is the price believers need to be willing to
pay. Also have a look here: