Questioned verse: [Matthew 10:34] “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword!
Many misinterpreted this statement of Jesus especially the devoted Muslims. They take this verse as literal in meaning like what Allah and Muhammad commanded them to do, which is to use their swords to kill the non-Muslims.
Jesus was referring to the division of a family caused by His teaching. And His statement proves true, many family members turned divided because of Him. One example of this division is Jesus’ disciples who left their families to live with Him. Members of a family differ in Faith that’s why they become divided. How many members of families that left their homes so as to follow Jesus? and how many of them were killed? This division is very painful among the family members that’s why Jesus called His teaching as a ‘sword’ _for it cuts the hearts of men. Others opted not to follow Jesus and refuse His salvation because they cannot afford to lose their families or to lose their lives as a consequence of leaving their Faiths. In Islamic society, to kill a family member who left Islam is a commandment. That’s why Jesus said, “anyone who loves his father and mother or (son and daughter) more than me is not worthy of me”. The one who sticks to his family because he is afraid to die will lose his eternal life instead. While the one who is not afraid to die in following Jesus will find eternal life instead. Jesus only emphasized to us the cost of choosing Him, that we should carry the cross (painful consequence) in following His teaching if we want eternal lives.
Let us continue reading Matthew 10, from verse 35 to 39;
35For 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’;
36and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’
37He 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.
38And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
39He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
Let us also read the parallel verses from [Luke 12:51-53], they say;
51Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.
52From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three.
53They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
Jesus is the prince of peace [Isaiah 9:6]. He is referring not the literal sword to kill people, but He meant the sword of Spirit which is the “word of God”. Kindly read;
[Ephesians 6:17] Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
[Hebrews 4:12] For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it pierces even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart.