March 18

Text: Matthew 10:34-36

"Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN'S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.” (NASB)

Jesus is usually portrayed as a man of peace.  That depends on the person’s meaning of the word peace.  Jesus fully understood that his message would produce conflict.  The intensity of the conflict would be evident in a place where (1) interpersonal bonds were valued above all else and (2) conflicts rarely occurred openly—the family unit.

What they readily understood is strange to us.  Consider just one example.  As a rule asking the bride’s father for permission to marry is a meaningless formality to us.  For the minority who do it, if Dad says, “No,” the couple likely ignores him and marries anyway.

That would never happen in Jesus’ society!  Asking the father’s permission was MUCH more than a formality.  If he said, “No,” the marriage did NOT occur.  The idea of an open dispute among family members was unthinkable and serious!

Jesus’ society was deeply religious and governed by religious laws.  Jesus’ message produced conflicts with some basic concepts.  For example, he associated with the “wrong” people, went to “wrong” places, and was known to do “wrong” things.  Such made him an unacceptable influence.

Was he or was he not the Christ?  Did he declare God’s intent?  Was the nation of Israel God’s objective or only God’s means to His objective?  Was salvation bigger than membership in the nation of Israel?

Note this, please.  Though Jesus’ message caused conflict, NEVER did Jesus advocate that his disciples use violence to impose his message or control people’s behavior.

Suggestion for reflection: Is relationship with Jesus Christ and God more important than any relationship in my life?  (Read Galatians 2:17-21.)

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