“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword” (Mt. 10:34).
Almost any picture we paint of Jesus is lacking. It is especially true of the canvas, but also of the heart. Jesus is complex – infinitely so. When we think we have captured him, some other piece of him floats by and we must pour out all the other pieces and try to put them back together again. Haygood put it this way:
As to your conception of him and his teachings, this I am sure of: if you continue to study him and his words your best ideas now will, by and by, seem to you to be very unworthy.
Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Not only does the Bible teach it, but every year around this season the signage declares it. Entertainers sing it. Presents are wrapped in it. The unsuspecting child King was born to bring peace and goodwill to all.
But Jesus the man says, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth, but a sword.” It’s almost as if he heard those angels singing the night of his birth and never forgot it; it’s as if he wants to correct their mistake.
But he is not correcting a mistake.
He is flipping the coin.
Speaking of, someone might ask, What image is on a penny? “Abraham Lincoln.”
Someone else says, “The Lincoln Monument.”
Did Jesus come to bring peace, or a sword?
Which is it?
The birth of Jesus was the announcement of peace for the world!
But does peace ever come at no cost? With no boundaries?
We might well ask, is there a one-sided coin?
The sword of Christ must be allowed to cut down the thickets of the heart, the kudzu of traditions, and fell the dense forest of interfering loyalties.
Endure the sword, and peace ensues.
As with the coin, we cannot have one side of Christ without the other.