Sword, not Peace

By Pastor Teck Uy

When Jesus was born, the angels proclaimed the good news saying “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14). With this announcement, we all rejoiced for we now have the peace that was so elusive to men. But what kind of peace is this? If we have to ask the Lord Jesus Christ himself, would he say that he came to be the Prince of Peace? Well, Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword” (Matt. 10:34). This statement goes against all that we know about him as the Prince of Peace. We always thought that he came to bring peace but he was saying that he came to bring the sword. He even said further, “For 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’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household’” (Matt. 10:35-36).

While Jesus’ words seem contradictory to his being the Prince of Peace, as prophesied in Isaiah 9, they are actually not. The peace that Jesus gives is not the kind of peace that the world was expecting, which was a widespread peace that everyone will have. Rather, it is an individual peace that each person gets when they receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. But whether they will receive Jesus or not depends on how they will respond to the sword that the Lord Jesus will bring. Undoubtedly, this sword refers to the Word of God being the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17) or the double-edged sword referred to in Hebrews 4:12.

Even from the beginning, the Lord Jesus Christ was already giving a warning that not all will receive and believe in the gospel. In fact, the truth of the gospel will divide families. Jesus made this so clear when he said, “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (Luke 12:51-53). Therefore, there will be a division between those who believe and those who do not. This division will bring persecution to the believers, but he who endures until the end will be saved.

Before the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, there was an enmity between God and men because men followed the ways of this world rather than that of God. The apostle James said, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). In the midst of such hopelessness, Jesus came into the world to reconcile us with God. The role of Jesus as the Prince of Peace was emphasized by the apostle Paul when he said, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). There is no other we can receive the peace that the angels proclaimed at the birth of Jesus but by receiving Jesus himself as our Lord and Saviour.

As we continue to live in this world, we should not be surprised as we witness troubles happening, one after the other. The Lord Jesus Christ himself warned, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). All these troubles should not deter us in our spiritual walk for as long as we are walking with the Lord. In fact, we should welcome all the troubles that have something to do with our spiritual walk, for it is the Lord himself that will carry us through. Just as the Lord Jesus overcame the worst of trouble that came upon him, which was the cross, we too shall overcome. Jesus endured the cross because of the joy of not only being eventually re-united with the Father, but to reconcile us with God through him.

Peace cannot be dictated. It is something that we receive personally and individually. When Jesus came into the world, only the ones that received him as Lord and Saviour received the peace of God. It is when we have peace with God that we can also have peace with one another. Therefore, let us bring in the Prince of Peace into our lives and experience the peace that transcends understanding that the Lord promised. We can have a peaceful world when we all receive Jesus as Lord and Saviour. But always remember that it is a personal decision that we will all make. May the name of the Lord be praised as we live with one another in peace. Hallelujah!