“Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, 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 her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:51-53)
Down through history many skeptics, philosophers, atheists, and critics have used this passage from Luke it as a means to discredit Jesus and the Bible and undermine our Christian faith. They claim that, if Jesus was a man of peace, how could He make such a belligerent and bloodthirsty proclamation?
Though what Jesus says here seems confusing we must realize that His statement is not a prescription for violence. It is a prophecy of the effects faith in Jesus will have on people. Indeed, Jesus came to bring peace and unity between God and man by His atoning sacrifice on the cross, a unity that was disrupted by sin and Satan. Yet mankind rejects Him and His way of salvation. Although faith in Christ unites believers it divides them from everyone who rejects Him. These would rather hate true believers and persecute them with violence in an attempt to silence the truth. This is the way in which the gospel separates and divides families, friends, neighbors and societies. These relationships fail because our relationship to Christ, our loyalty and love for Him must take first place in our lives over all other relationships.
These words of Christ sound like a prophecy of present day America. People in our nation are divided by hatred and the venomous rhetoric of politics fueled into a frenzy by broadcast and social media. This division has even separated family and church members. We Christians ought not to separate ourselves from other believers because of politics. We owe our first allegiance to the Lord and His Kingdom. We should always live by Kingdom principles, not political platforms. We must seek to honor the Lord and bless others by adhering to God’s truth with love, grace, forgiveness, and mercy despite what others say or do to us or the losses and pain we must endure.