Luke 12: 51

“Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division”.

What does this verse mean?

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@Tsilise It means that if we choose allegiance to Jesus people might reject us or persecute us. Our allegiance to Jesus might divide us from our old way of life and those who followed it. For example, a Muslim who comes to Jesus may be threatened with death or kicked out of their house / village. Someone from an unbelieving family may be made fun of or ostracized by family / friends / colleagues.

For rhetorical reasons, Jesus’ statement is deliberately paradoxical (seeming to state the opposite of [Matt 10:13](javascript:{}), for example, where the messengers are to bring peace). The conflict implied by the division (the parallel in [Matt 10:34](javascript:{}) has “sword”) is not primarily eschatological in this context, however, but immediate, and concerns the hostility and discord even among family members that a person’s allegiance to Jesus would bring (vv. 52-53). NET Bible

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Hi, good question.

As I understand it, the Bible teaches from the very beginning of of the Bible in Genesis that there are essentially 2 lines in the world and there have always been. Those who serve God and those who serve Satan.

In context of this and knowing that the Gospel necessarily convicts people, this is what Jesus meant: that the Gospel forces people into the lines that they belong to. Those who belong to Christ will follow Him and those who do not belong to Christ will have their heart further hardened.

Hope this helps.

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Hi @Tsilise,

I love both @SeanO and @Jesse_Means_God_Exists answers and perspective. And I think they cover your questions well enough. I have experienced it firsthand, how I was basically written off from my dad’s inheritance and status as his child(the latter he has since retracted) for not renouncing Christianity and deciding, according to them, the final nail to the coffin, by marrying a Christian wife 11 odd years ago. So this passage becomes personal rhema for me.

I just want to go on a tangent a bit, in relation to this verse. I got this from reading Nabeel Quershi’s book “No God but One”.

Matt 10:34’s original text in the last part actually reads more accurately as “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

Now this verse has been used by the Muslim to say that yes, Jesus did endorse violence too. (This is in retaliation, because Muslim has always been accused as so, and rightly so.)

The Greek word for sword that Jesus used is not rhomphaia, the usual sword that is used exclusively for warfare. Instead the word used is machaira, which is more like a machete, a long dagger or a shorter sword that was designed as a multi-purpose tool to cut and cleanse the innards of fish, meat or poultries. But it can also be used to cut branches, or used like a scissors to cut through ropes or straps. Think of it like a big utility knife in those days.

Yes, it can be used for violence, but it wasn’t the original design of the tool. And it’s contextual use by Jesus is found in the next verses (35-38), that is like a fish body being cut into two parts by a machaira. (The explanation is already well-presented by Sean and Jesse).

This machaira can also be found in Luke 22:35-38 when Jesus sent His disciples to preach the Good News. Hence, carrying 2 “utility knives” is enough for the journey, instead of a sword for each and every disciples deployed, to use for defense. (Remember, Jesus had a lot of disciples, but only 12 appointed as apostles -Luke 6:13) So clearly 2 machairas for soo many people was clearly not meant for violence.

I thought it would be interesting to know, for added trivia. Hope it is useful.

Blessings in Christ,
Roy

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That’s great insight. God bless

Thank you, RoySujanto. How wonderful it is that you have done for His kingdom. I like your perspective adding more details and meanings. May God bless you richly

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