“Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They 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.” (Luke 12:51–53, NIV84)
Wait one minute! What did Jesus just say? He didn’t come to bring peace on earth? But what about the angels on Christmas morning (“and on earth, Peace!”)? What about Jesus telling us that in Him we have peace? What about Him blessing His disciples after His resurrection by saying, “Peace be unto you”? Doesn’t the Bible call Jesus the Prince of Peace? What is He saying in these verses? Is He contradicting Himself? Not at all. It is important that we understand what Jesus is saying in these verses.
First, let’s state clearly that Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He did come so that we might have peace. He meant what He said in the gospel of John when He said: “I have come so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have troubles, but take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). And there is the key to peace. There can never be peace on this planet because the earth is broken by the corruption of sin. Residents of the earth can have peace, but the source and destination of their peace is the kingdom of heaven. As long as we live in this broken world where Satan and human sinfulness exist, we will see division and conflict. We see it everywhere. The Christian message, although loving and peaceful, receives vicious attacks from this world. This conflict will continue until Jesus comes again and reigns over a new heaven and a new earth.
In the meantime what do we do? We stay the course! We remain loving and peaceful no matter how we are treated. We let the light of Christ’s love shine through us so that the world is forced to see the contrast. We NEVER apply the world’s tactics in our approach. Remember, we are called to love our enemies, go the extra mile, turn the other cheek, and love and forgive others as Jesus has us.