What do you think of this quote from Jesus?
Matthew 10:34 "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword."
This is one of the lesser known verses from good ol' Jesus himself. Now Jesus said a lot of great things to live your life by but this seems to contradict the notion that Jesus came to bring peace and love. Now of course there are plenty of quotes to the contrary but the fact that it is still in there still deserves examination, what do you think of it?
I read constantly that Christians should not be proud of a verse attributed to Jesus. The verse reads:
Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth, but a sword.
At first glance it indeed appears that Jesus encourages violence and calls his disciples to practice it, presumably righteous violence. But appearances can be deceiving. A text without a context often becomes a pretext, as the old saying goes. Once this verse is read in its historical and literary contexts, the meaning will change.
It is time to set the record straight about that verse.
The historical context, we should recall, is Jewish culture, as Jesus ministers to his own people. He sends out the twelve disciples to the "lost sheep of Israel," not yet to the gentiles, who will be reached after the Resurrection. It is not surprising, historically speaking, that he would spread his word by proclamation to his own, by Jewish disciples. Second, he predicts that some towns may not receive the disciples and that the authorities may put them on trial and flog them. In that eventuality, they should shake the dust off their feet, pray for them, and flee to another city. Third, it is only natural that first-century Jews may not understand this new sect or "Jesus movement" (as sociologists of the New Testament call it), so they resist it. Does this mean, then, that Jesus calls for a holy war with a physical, military sword against his fellow Jews—say, against his own family who wanted to take custody of him because they thought he was "out of his mind" (Mark 3:21)?
Next, those cultural facts explain the immediate literary context, which shows division among family members. The context must be quoted in full to explain the meaning of "sword" in Matthew 10:34 (bold print):
32 "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. 34 Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn
a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household [Micah 7:6]
37 Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."
The one key element in this lengthy passage is the word "sword," and its meaning is now clear. It indicates that following Jesus in his original Jewish society may not bring peace to a family, but may "split" it up, the precise function of a metaphorical sword. Are his disciples ready for that? This kind of spiritual sword invisibly severs a man from his father, and daughter from her mother, and so on (Micah 7:6). Given Jesus’ own family resistance early on (they later came around), it is only natural he would say that no matter what the cost, one must follow him to the end, even if it means giving up one’s family. But this applies only if the family rejects the new convert, not if the family accepts him in his new faith; he must not reject them, because the whole point of Jesus’ advent is to win as many people to his side as possible, even if this divides the world in two, but never violently.
Furthermore, we can reference the larger textual context in the Gospel of Matthew. In the Garden of Gethsemane, during the hour when Jesus was betrayed and arrested, Peter struck off the ear of the servant of the high priest in order to protect his Lord. But Jesus tells him to stop.
Matthew 26:52-53 says:
52 "Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?" (NIV)
Jesus denounces violence to accomplish the will of God—at least as Peter imagines the will of God. Then Jesus says that he has more than twelve legions of angels at his disposal. He did not come to crush the Roman Empire. Instead, he willingly lays down his life and dies for the sins of the whole world. Will it accept this wonderful gift?
Now we can appeal to even a much larger textual context. The non-literal interpretation of the sword is confirmed by a parallel passage in the Gospel of Luke.
Luke 12:49-53 reads:
49 "I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo [my death], and how distressed I am until it is completed! 51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 52 From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53 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."
It is entirely possible that these two parallel passages in Matthew and Luke represent two different occasions. After all, when I teach the same topic in two different classes, I also change the wording a little. Neither class knows about the slight change, but this does not matter, for the meaning is essentially the same. Likewise, in the three years that Jesus taught, he most likely repeated this call to commitment several times to different audiences (though recorded only twice in the Gospels), as he crisscrossed Israel. He issued such radical calls often, telling his listeners to pick up their cross and to follow him (Matt. 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23, 14:27).
Whatever the case, the proper way to interpret Scripture is to let verses clarify other verses, particularly parallel passages. And now Luke 12:49-53 confirms our interpretation of Matt. 10:34. Jesus did not endorse physical violence against one’s own family, but he warns people about possible family division.
So what does all of this mean?
History demonstrates that Jesus never wielded a sword against anyone, and in Matt. 10:34 he does not order his followers to swing one either, in order to kill their family opponents or for any reason. But a true disciple who is worthy of following Christ and who comes from a possibly hostile family has to use a sword of the will (never a physical sword) to sever away all opposition, even as far as taking up his cross—another metaphorical implement for the disciples. It is true that Jesus divides the world into two camps, those who follow him, and those who do not, those in the light, and those in the dark. However, he never tells his followers to wage war on everyone else, and certainly not on one’s family.
It is true that the Roman Emperor Constantine, Medieval Crusaders, and Protestants and Catholics have used the sword against unbelievers and each other. However, none of them is foundational to Christianity—only Jesus is, and he never endorses the sword to spread his message. Also, Christianity has undergone Reform (c. 1400-1600) and has been put under the pressure of the Enlightenment (c. 1600-1800), which demanded peace. Be that as it may, Jesus himself never calls for military holy war, and only he sets the genetic code for his movement.
There is not a single verse in the New Testament that calls the Church to commit violence to spread the gospel or to plant churches or to accomplish anything else. Rather, the New Testament hands the sword over to the State (Rom. 13:1-6). In any case, Jesus says a spiritual sword, not a physical one, may sever family ties, so his disciples must be ready for that.
Side: Peace through superior firepower
How about you make your own argument instead of stealing it from http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/
Side: Peace through superior firepower
Whilst he did copy and paste it, I think you should be concentrating more on the material/content within rather than where it came from, if you are truly genuine about this debate.
P.S. Silas, have you done that with the other answers you contribute to religious debates? Some of them were incredible answers, so if you did create those yourself then you could have easily created another perfect answer here.
Side: Peace through superior firepower
Matthew 10:34 “Do not think that I have come to send peace upon the earth: I have not come to send peace, but a sword.”
This scripture should not be taken away from context as it will most likely cause confusion to you, an atheist. Since you have done this, I feel obligated to explain it to you and hopefully show you that your interpretation of the scripture is false and that the Lord Jesus did not have evil in mind.
Firstly, the most important thing to do before analyzing this verse is to think of what we are told about Him. What is Jesus’ nature? Jesus came to earth taking the form of a man and was rejected by His own people. He healed, cured the blind, sick and deaf, He brought love, peace and happiness to those who were in need of it. Jesus was compassionate, loving and a perfect Man, who died to save our souls from judgment and bore our sins before washing them away with His own precious blood. Now, this is the perfect moment to slot in this verse: “I have not come to send peace, but a sword”. I can imagine exactly what entered your mind the second your read this; Christ – who is known for His love and mercy – states that He has not come to send peace, but instead a sword which has connotations of cutting, sharpness, blood and war. What the Lord meant when telling us this is exactly what He states in Mark 8:34 “take up your cross and follow me”. Putting this simply, He is telling His children that we will be persecuted for our belief in Him, our faith in Him, our love for Him, but faith will be rewarded with His love, and our belief will be rewarded by being with Him for eternity, and so His true followers should be prepared to pick up their cross (aka burden) and follow Him into the Light. This relates to Matthew 10 in many ways. Here is one way: imagine your brother and yourself were heavy drinkers, womanizers, your lives were filled with the world and nothing was in it for Him. But the day comes when you put all that behind you and are converted; you will have to part with your worldly brother in order to follow Him. It may be the road less travelled by and a road that has many obstacles along the way, but it is the right path and is not an easy ride. Before one takes this path, he must take up his cross and follow Him. Secondly, take a look at Matthew 24:9 “Then they shall deliver you up to tribulation, and shall kill you; and ye will be hated of all the nations for my name’s sake”. This is the same thing; you will be persecuted for following Him – men will judge and mock you for loving Him, and in this case will hand you over to men to kill you, just like what happened to the Lord Himself. Taking up your cross is not taking up something that will take you for a jolly ride where peace and love abide in every place – this is a false understanding and will only hurt you further. If a man wants to serve God then this is exactly what he must do; serve God and not man. Thirdly, take a look at what follows on from the verse you quote. “He who does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me” – a perfect verse relating to the other I have included, and both are self explanatory. If you do not pick up your cross and accept that there will be hardships and tests along the way, then you are not fit to call yourself His follower, as you are not prepared to be persecuted for His name’s sake even though He has died for you. There is no further explanation required on this particular verse. Fourthly, His following words “For I have come to set a man at variance with his father, and the daughter with her mother” are indications that there will be divisions (another connotation of the sword: cutting, dividing in two) in households where one (for example the son) believes in the Lord whereas another (for example the father) does not; this will cause division thus instead of peace residing in the home, there will be a blade of tension in the house. Again, one (in this case, the son) must pick up his cross and follow Him with determination in his heart and faith in God that he will get through the trials and tribulations here on earth until the day comes where He takes away that sword and welcomes the son into His Kingdom. There are so many more examples I could include here, but you seem an intelligent person and I am more than certain you have understood this so far and get the jist of what He was saying. He could have said “I am peace but believing in me will cause many to hate you”, but instead He put it perfectly and succinctly – the message loud and clear to His children; He is peace, the world is war, “you cannot have two masters” thus must always choose Him which will bring the sword. I am sure there are believers out there who could answer your post in a much simpler manner but since there are not many of them here on this site, I decided to toss in my say. I hope that you have altered your interpretation of this statement of His and that whilst, as you say, there are many verses that display His love, peace and devotion to His friends, this one still stands and although appears dark to those that do not love Him, it now stands in the same Light that it was spoken in.
Additionally, to answer the title in the debate, I think that the quote is a perfect summary of what most Christians have to face at some point; the sword. For many, they face that blade every day and the cross they carry is far heavier than that of others', but we are reminded that one day that cross will be lifted down from our shoulders and there will be naught but peace and love with Him. :)
P.S. I am aware that you do not like extensive posts with too many examples/points to go through, so if in response you prefer to keep it simple, this is agreeable to me. Furthermore, I do not have time for immediate corresponding of large posts so keeping to the point is also agreeable to me as it is to you. Lastly, since this post targets one statement, I am sure we can cut down our essays unlike our previous debate in evolution which were ridiculously long! Hehe.
Side: His every word touches my soul
>< fucking christians and their misinterpretations.
Maybe the old European Catholic model was right, everyday idiots shouldn't be allowed to read the thing, apparently it takes an education of one sort or another to figure it out.
1. Only the least accurate translations, the ones written to "sell copies" like King James interpret it "sword".
The most accurate interpretation is conflict. His coming will bring conflict.
2. It's not a call to arms for any retarded christians who read the misinterpretation, it means that, if you follow the bible, you will have conflict put upon you. Not you should pull out a machete and start spewing your silly religion.
3. Ironically, it would be from religious zealots, including christians who think it means "pull out a sword" from whom you'd get the most "conflict." Ironically much the same as it was not atheists or non-religious who, according to the made up story, killed the made up person jesus, but the religious leaders who were his downfall.
Any "true christian" would find the most conflict from these fake religious right types who consistantly twist the thing they claim to try to follow.
Here's what I'll do, any silly christians have a question about what their cryptic superstition is really saying in any passage,
just ask me, a flaming atheist. We atheists apparently know it better than you do.
Side: lmao wow christians are dumb
fucking Christians and their misinterpretations
Actually, it was an atheist who formed this debate and assumed the sword was literal, not a Christian. I don't much care for your incessant mocking of my people either so I have reported you :) Lastly, Christians are not idiots like you assume, in fact, there have been many incredibly intelligent Christians who would look down their noses at the likes of you. Lastly - piss off you incessant prick.
Side: His every word touches my soul
Report me all you want. Won't change how dumb christians are.
and fucking christians and their misinterpretations
is obviously referring to christians who misinterpret their own religion, and not an atheist simply stating one of the many ways you don't know what the hell you're talking about.
there have been many incredibly intelligent Christians who would look down their noses at the likes of you
No there hasn't been. Name one.
Lastly - piss off you incessant prick
I don't see how that proves your point... mine maybe, since you've not had an answer for a single fact I've stated, only a tantrum because you let someone hurt your feelings online. You haven't contributed any disputing points beyond that.
Side: lmao wow christians are dumb