Matthew 10:34 Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”
Wow. This passage certainly has an edge to it, huh? I’m thinking maybe Jesus was having a bad day when he said this. That, or perhaps he was just trying to keep it real with his disciples. Jesus is often called “Prince of Peace” because through Jesus Christ we are able to make peace with our heavenly Father, no longer alienated by our sin. That said, Jesus was often a source of division among family members, some of whom accepted Jesus as Messiah and some who didn’t. While many people in Western culture these days may be apathetic about religion, this was not the case in ancient Israel. Leaving orthodox Judaism for Christianity could easily cost a believer her family – or even her very life.
Coming from a Catholic family it was something of note when I joined a Lutheran church. Even more so when I announced I was headed to Lutheran seminary to become a pastor. There was a little tension there for a while, but my family pretty much got over it quickly. I don’t come from a particularly religious family so that helped.
But I know there are probably some of you reading this for whom faith in Jesus cost you much more. In some ways you lost your life when you found life in Jesus. For me that looked more like lost friends than family members. There were people I had to let go of when I became a serious Christian. It was painful then and painful now.
Lord, have mercy upon us. Amen.