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Is Jesus the Prince of Peace or the Prince of Division?

Reformed Eve is a daughter of God, which makes her royalty - no matter what the world throws at her. She straightens her crown quite often.

Does Luke 12:51 Tell Us Jesus is Not Peaceful?

Luke 12:51 was too confusing to me. This is what it says: "Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division." This same sentiment is reflected in Matthew as well, as you can see here: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword…" I thought Jesus was the Prince of Peace? This is what He's always referred to around Christmas season. So why is Jesus telling us, through the Gospels, that he will bring division and a sword?

Surprisingly, if one continues to read Luke 12, Jesus says that with division, he will purposely divide families. He even goes into specifics, saying that a father will be divided against his son, a mother against her daughter, and even a daughter against the mother. Even the sometimes comical, or tragic, hatred against mother-in-law against daughter-in-law is mentioned, as well as daughters-in-law against mother-in-law. When we think of this in the broad sense, it doesn't make sense. When we look at this with a magnifying glass against our lives, the hidden meaning becomes more transparent.

During the times of Jesus, people were already severely divided. In Matthew 16:13-17, we are presented with a question that Jesus asked his disciples. He wanted to know their opinion on who they believed he was. The disciples' answers varied quite a bit. They mentioned that people thought he was John the Baptist, or Elias, or Jeremias, or even one of the prophets. Finally, Simon Peter mentioned the correct answer: Jesus is Christ, the Living God's Son. When Jesus said this, he affirmed that his Father, God, is in Heaven. So even this event shows how very divided people truly were as to the existence of Jesus Christ. Who was he? Why were there so many different versions of who Jesus was?

We see separation in families today, especially when it comes to Christianity. I know that I have to be extremely careful and mindful when talking about this subject. Christianity has branched out into many sectors and spectrums. I do not believe in 'religion,' as I think that true Christianity is an evolving relationship between one and Jesus Christ. This is not a set of rules to adhere to, specific prayers to say, or a particular number of beads to count. It's the relationship you nurture, foster, and develop every single day, regardless of what is considered religious practices. With this said, many people (regardless of religion) become the social or family pariah when they turn to Christ. Immediately, the family members, friends, co-workers, and others began to judge the lifestyle, Christ, and the changes that one starts to make in their life. Pretend that you no longer want to watch movies with excessive nudity because you're fighting pornography addiction. You want to turn to God and stay away from such temptations. The friends or social circle might make fun of this person's maturity, mental state, and morals. This is a division that was created by Jesus.

Psalms 1: 1-6 mentions that there are no grey areas. A "maybe" doesn't exist. You either choose the path to Heaven (which is narrow) or select the way to Hell. You cannot serve two masters. (Matthew 6:24) Imagine that a person is leading a very hostile life. This person is promiscuous, outlandish, bizarre, and all sprinkled or doused with very secular inspirations. Now, imagine this person begins to want to become closer to Christ. They have to jump from the path leading straight to the Devil's Hellish Sulfur Lake to Milk and Honey's Heavenly Castle. So, you're either, with purpose, following Christ, or you are walking in the secular ways of the world. We are reminded that we are not of this world. We can not conform to the world. (Romans, 12:2). We, as followers of Christ, as not of this world. (John 15:19) We aren't to love the world or things that are in the world. (1 John 2:15) John 17:14 also mentions this very poignant statement: "I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world." The world will hate us.

This is the division Jesus was referring to.

Just the way one sifts the wheat from the chaff (the trashy bits that float away), in this way, Jesus is filtering his people. Those who are followers of Christ must be separated from said trashy bits that drift away like the little nothings they want to be, much like the wheat trash.

The laws of Jesus suddenly became the new standard. Old laws (or the Old Covenant) like "an eye for an eye" were no longer tolerated. Jesus used comparisons and contrast to separate the old from the new and promised that those who follow him will become new creations if they allowed themselves to become transformed by this set of novel teachings. Those that followed the new laws of Christ became immediately separated, divided from the secular society. They became social pariahs, much like Jesus was (in the eyes of many) before he was on the crucifix. Even before Jesus's arrival, however, the laws in the Torah (or the first five books of the Bible) involved believing in God, having faith in God, respecting God's law, and letting it separate God's people from the rest. Instead of having Jesus as the sacrificial lamb, they had to literally offer animal sacrifices to God at that time. Many used the laws based on Torah times to oppress others and to aggrandize themselves.

Luke 12:51 reminded us that a person can't just think they are saved by saying that God loves them solely because they are a Jew or from the Abraham lineage. Under the law of Isreal, families that were based on the Jewish structure would become strained because people would try to push these older, misinterpreted rules into the modern Jesus era. This put parents in strange places, emotionally and spiritually, to their sons, daughters, and families. Jesus's arrival began to pit families against each other.

My husband once mentioned that we are born selfish. We are immediately born with the 'me' mentality. Here are some ego-centric thoughts that are born out of instinct: Where is my food? Change my diaper. Wake up. I need something. (Insert colicky cry here). We are driven by the desires of the flesh, since birth. (Doesn't the control of instinct separate us from animals, in a way?) So as we mature physically and spiritually, we are in a constant battle with our selfish nature. Some do not wish to battle this and would instead be taken afloat on the secular world's crashing waves. These are divided from those who want to struggle against the inherent and learned sins of human nature.

Ultimately, religious hypocrites are guaranteed a life of misery, regardless of how much money will come. Eventually, peace will come for those who are followers of Jesus, but that journey will not exist without its tribulations, trials, and temptations. Those who decide they are not on God's side and choose not to walk with Jesus have determined, immediately, to be at war with God for the rest of their lives (until they change their thinking and actions and ask for repentance of a sinful life).

Many want to justify violence to create chaos and to murder. We can think of numerous examples in history where people used swords to kill in the name of Jesus. But remember when Jesus said that all who draw the sword will die by the sword? (Matthew 26:52) When he tried to use the sword to defend Jesus, Peter must have felt conflicted by these words. He was using his sword, in a worldly way, to ward off a threat in the name of Jesus. But this is not what Jesus wanted. This points to the sword mentioned in Matthew 10: 34-36 is a spiritual sword instead of a physical one. This sword is a metaphoric, non-literal sword that does not promote violence, contrary to popular opinion. Imagine a large sword dividing an apple in half. One half of the apple is great, and the other is rotten and full of undesirable insects. This is the sword of division.

So is Jesus the Prince of Peace? Yes. Here are some verses that should comfort those who are followers of Jesus:

Isaiah 9:6 – "For to us a child is born, to us, a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Luke 3:14 – "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace among those with whom he is pleased!"

John 14:27 – "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. Not as the world gives do I have to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."

Jesus died for us. He is the Prince of Peace, but only to those who follow him earnestly. Honestly, we are divided against the secular world, we have been promised persecution, and we should be willing to carry our own cross to our execution, much like Jesus did. We should be ready to give us our former self, spiritually and physically, for Him.

© 2020 Reformed Eve