“I have brought no peace to the world”
In religious terms and based on faith, a true believer in Jesus cannot think that he will cause division. Because, Jesus, the son of the living God, who came to this world as a human being, is also the protector, the defender and the saviour to save the people.
By K L Joseph
Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the world. No, I did not come to bring peace, but a sword “. (Matt. 10,34). “Do you suppose that I came to bring peace to the world? No, not peace, but division”. (Luke, 12-51). Mention of ‘sword’ and ‘division’ in the gospels does not mean that Jesus was bent upon creating social disorder or restlessness among the people.
In religious terms and based on faith, a true believer in Jesus cannot think that he will cause division. Because, Jesus, the son of the living God, who came to this world as a human being, is also the protector, the defender and the saviour to save the people. Then how could the saviour sent by God raise a sword against the people of this world and cause division among them, whom he loved so much.
The division that Jesus refers to is bound to happen in a family, when a member of that family will become his disciple. The discipleship under Jesus is not a bed of roses, as the person to be his disciple will have to renounce everything in life including his father and mother; his wife and children; and his brothers and sisters etc. and remain committed to the discipleship under Jesus for the rest of his life, preaching and teaching the good news of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Such person will have no chance to abandon his discipleship under Jesus and return to his family. This Jesus himself made it very clear to a man when he expressed his desire to follow Jesus. The man said to Jesus, “I will follow you, sir, but first let me go and say good-bye to my family”. Then Jesus said to him, “Anyone who starts to plough and then keeps looking back is of no use to the Kingdom of God“. (Luke 9.61-62).
Jesus knew that he himself will become the cause of division in a family. Because Jesus lived during the New Testament times, amidst his enemies all round. The Pharisees, the Scribes and the Sadducees were the enemies of Jesus and they always opposed to his teachings. They became jealous of his wonderful ways of teaching and were also amazed at the great miracles he performed. They were always on the lookout for an opportunity to trap Jesus and persecute him even by fabricating false charges.
Jesus’ fame spread everywhere, drawing more and more followers to believe in him. With the result, his opponents got belittled and rejected by the people. This resulted in more hostile conditions for Jesus and his followers to carry out their mission. Jesus had also enemies from the Romans. Therefore, Jesus knew that his followers will also become an easy target and be pursued with enmity, ill-treatment, physical harassment, including the penalties on grounds of religious beliefs -- all because of Jesus!
This was the reason why Jesus said to the people in the world that he has come with a ‘Sword’ and not with ‘Peace’ -- because of the sufferings to a person for being his disciple. (Matt. 10.34 and Luke 12.51). Even to the twelve disciples of Jesus he said the following in anticipation of the persecutions they will be subjected to (i. e before sending them out to preach his message)
“Listen! I am sending you out just like sheep to a pack of wolves. You must be as cautious as snakes and as gentle as doves. Watch out, for there will be men who will arrest you and take you to court, and they will whip you in the synagogues. (Matt. 10, 16-17).
“Men will hand over their own brothers to be put to death, and fathers will do the same to their children; children will turn against their parents and have them put to death. Everyone will hate you because of me.” (Matt.10, 21-22). But, the one who holds on to the end will be saved.
Jesus’ assurance to those who will be persecuted because of him, is given in Chap. 5. 10-12 of the gospel of St. Matthew, which reads as under:
“Happy are those who are persecuted
because they do what God requires;
the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them !
“Happy are you when people insult you and
persecute you and tell all kinds of evil lies
against you because you are my followers.
Be happy and glad, for a great reward is
kept for you in heaven. This is how the
prophets who lived before you were persecuted.”
So, what Jesus said is true, “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Luke, 14 .27).
(K L Joseph is a Thrichur based Lay Writer)
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