“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the Earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
Perhaps we have taken this verse completely out of context. When Jesus spoke this to His disciples as they were sent out to proclaim the good news, the words were preceded with this message…
“The kingdom of heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who are deemed unclean by the church, drive out their diseases and afflictions (demons)” Matthew 10:7-8
With His words, Jesus also gave the protocol that everyone was to follow. “Freely you have received, so freely give. Do not take along any money for your expenses; pack no bag for the journey, or extra clothes, no footwear or gear, because the worker is worth their keep.”
Is still our call to action.
Remembering that Christ promises to provide all that we need, our obligation is to go and carry forward His word, His teachings, His practical and true way of how to walk according to the precepts of God.
We are to be salt and light to everyone we encounter. We bring to those who accept us, the beautiful word of salvation. Some may only listen a while, but the seed is sown in that moment. Others may turn against us with harsh words. We may be allowed entrance into people’s homes, to share a meal, or to work alongside of them. There will be times where our example and the light of Christ represented in our mannerisms and behaviors causes those we are with to feel guilt or shame. People will either push back against us or ask what it is that makes us give love so freely.
Jesus does not ask any of us to judge the people we encounter, but to continue moving along as the situation presents itself. Be open to where your feet are placed. Every situation may not turn out sunny. Don’t take it personally Jesus says. We will be loved, welcomed, and warmly accepted by some. We will also be bitterly ridiculed, rallied against, and spoken of harshly by others. It is never our mandate to retaliate, be divisive, or to hold up in a stronghold and hide.
Jesus himself was the perfect example of how to walk with humility and righteousness. He never shied away from people dissimilar from himself, eschewing religious idealism’s and ethnic differences. He boldly entered confrontational situations that anyone else would avoid. All of this was done to get His message to as many people as possible. Jesus had something so crucial to share that He would endure any powers that came against him.
Nothing has changed. What He said then, He says now.
“The kingdom of heaven is near.
Repent. Turn from the ways you are taught by society and peer pressure, push aside the influencers and the media. Get your head out of the gutter. Stop judging by mere appearances and make a right judgment. There is only One judge: God. How will you be able to stand before God almighty and not be destroyed in His holy presence? You must turn from your selfish, double minded, dishonest, deceitful, prideful, twisted, all-about-me ways. You may not like the word ‘sin’. You may not like being labeled with it, but you are filled with sin. I know, it’s a very abrasive term and no one wants to be called out as ‘sinful’. After all, it is such a disgusting word and most say they don’t have any of it. “I’m good” they all say.
You probably tell yourself that you’re a ‘good person’ too.
It’s just you and Me here now.
I am looking at you. I see right through you. I am the good shepherd; I am the great counselor. By the way, I am also 100% convinced that you are living in denial. Without a doubt it is your personal sin which separates you from reality. You say you are a ‘good person’. Want to hold that up against the brightest light?
Reality is, you are a mess, you are lost and don’t know right from wrong. You have an infection, and it is called sin. It fills your mind and seeps from your mouth. It’s terminal.
It is what you are and until you give it to Me there is no possible way for God to see you.
That’s right, God can’t see you. Not right now.
God does not suffer from blindness, rather such absolute power and glory cannot see through your darkness, your sin. He wants to. God truly wants to see you, to know you and to be one with you. But God is pure. God is holy.
God is the opposite of darkness. The darkness of sin is not allowed into the house. Until sin is confessed, repented of, and given to Me; God will not be seeing you. God is love and true love has rules.
Don’t you want to have life? Doesn’t your entire being cry out to have fulfillment, acceptance, and to be loved for who you are? Wouldn’t you give anything to be free of your guilt and shame? Is there nothing more desirable than to let go of the garbage you have been living in? No more lies, a way out of addictions, and a new way of seeing things. Oh, how your heart cries out for peace within!
There’s only one way, repent.
There’s only one door, that’s Me.
Are you ready to come in?
Are you done slogging through the mud and hubris of a life apart from God?
I’m holding the door open for you.
Come to Me all you who are weary and heavy laden. I will give you rest. I will give you life in abundance.”
This is the sword.
Jesus does not say “Peace unto you, all of you, no matter what you believe or what you want to do, peace to you.”
He says, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is here”.
The sword is a choice to turn from what was and seek all that is Christ, or to push Him away and face the consequences. That is the dividing line. Each person and every generation has to make their decision on their own. Light or darkness?
The sword is not ours to wield. Christ did not send out the disciples with weapons, but with a directive to be salt and light. We have the same instructions. As disciples of Christ, we are to be different from the flock, set apart for His purposes and glory. Our mindset and actions forged to be humble, honorable, and wholly reflective of the light which we carry into every situation.
Just like Jesus.
He said to not judge, so we are not to judge. He said to never hide our passion from those we encounter, and if things get heady; to move along. Keep focused purely on the mission and He will provide a way through any trial or difficulty.
He did not say we would not have trouble. We will have trouble.
Jesus knows that when we draw near to someone and earn their trust, they will want to know what it is about us that gives such strength and perseverance against the odds. They will ask how to get it for themselves. That is when our lips profess the miracle of Christ, to tell them of how He became our salvation. Testimony between people who trust each other. No trickery and no quota to fill. We bring Christ into the room. He takes it from there.
That person either takes Christ by the hand or tells us to back off. This is the same protocol as followed by the Disciples.
Jesus is the perfect example of how to carry nothing but who you are right on in there with the people – and to share the good news!
No swords required.
I write about ‘SWORDS’ because I have seen the weaponization of our Christian principles in and around the place I call home. When I see a fist raised in hatred on bumper stickers, truck windows, social media, billboards, signs, and flags under the banner of Christ; it hurts.
It is also ‘sinful’.
When we turn off the light of Christ and choose instead to show the darkness that fills ourselves, we give those looking for Christ a picture of an adversary who wants nothing more than to inflict harm.
This topic will be continued on another post ~