Jesus was to be the "Prince of Peace" according to Isaiah 9:6. However, Jesus Himself made the following statement from Matthew, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law" (10:34-35, KJV). Luke's record says, "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division" (12:51). How can we harmonize these two statements with the title "Prince of Peace" that seem contradictory?

First of all, it is important to note that the peace referred to by His title, Prince of Peace, is primarily peace between mankind and God. In the Book of Romans Paul shows that all men, Jew and Gentile alike are estranged from God by sin, and Jesus is the means by which man is restored to God. All have sinned, (Romans 3:23) and as a result are separated from God. Isaiah the prophet wrote, "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, so that he will not hear" (Isaiah 59:1-2, emphasis mine, ER). In Romans 5:1 Paul wrote, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (emphasis mine, ER). This is the peace that Jesus came to bring by His sacrifice, and through obedience to Jesus peace is made with God, and He will hear and save! However, in the world and even in families, Jesus came to be a divider of men. He came to cause men to think, reflect upon their relationship with God, and repent and conform to the life that God would have of all men. The fact is that not all people want to do right, and often, when one decides to become a Christian, the other members of his family may not desire to do the same thing! There are also many hypocritical folks who want to have the reputation in their community as a good, religious person, but don't really want to change their life style. Jesus spoke about these in the Sermon on the Mount. He introduced this with the statement, "Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men, to be seen of them: else ye have no reward with your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 6:1). He then spoke of those who sound trumpets when they gave alms, to call attention to their gift. He mentioned those who stood on street corners (publicly) to pray and prayed long, repetitious prayers, again to receive the accolades of men. When they fasted, they drew attention to themselves by disfiguring themselves to draw attention to their fasting.

The point of this entire context (Matthew 6:1-18), was to rebuke those who wanted the good will of the people around them, but didn't want to put any additional effort into actually pleasing God. Jesus even divided His own nation who had been eagerly looking for the Messiah for hundreds of years. However they had formed a picture in their minds about what the Messiah was to do, and be, and when He actually came, they rejected Him, and called for His crucifixion. Today, many leaders of our nation have turned away from the very foundations of our nation. Some of them for personal gain, that is, for money. Others do it for the fame or power that they receive. Many today want freedom from any reminder of religion or of God, since their lifestyle may well be the complete opposite of what it should be! The facts are that any sincere believer in the Bible and the God of the Bible, including His Son, Jesus, will make folks uncomfortable, and sometimes may endanger the very life of that believer! Jesus did come to cause division, as His own words point out!

Ed Rodgers, De Leon, TX,