“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 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—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 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 his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”
Keep your eyes on Jesus!
How can the greatest peace-maker of all time declare that he did not “come to bring peace to the earth.”? Look no further than your own families. In the Christian Marriage service found in Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal page 141, the pastor reads: “God intended marriage to bring loving companionship to the people of his world. But because of sin, the joy of marriage was soon overcast with sorrow, and the harmony of family life was shattered by strife.”
Marriage and family values are under attack. Sin and along with it, misplaced priorities, have brought strife to many homes. We don’t share these words to cast a blanket of gloom over the newlyweds or to be pessimistic about their future together.
We share words of caution, because Jesus shared words of caution. His words warn that if his followers begin to love and then prioritize someone, something, anything more than him, then conflict is inevitable. “A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.” Tragic, but avoidable.
Keep your eyes on Jesus. The one who took up the cross of salvation for us says, “Take up your cross.” The one who gave up his life in the glory and joy of heaven tells us to give up our life in the pettiness and selfishness of this fallen world.
Keep your eyes on Jesus who welcomes you into a new life of sacrifice and love. Keep your eyes on Jesus who welcomes you to the glory of heaven. In Jesus, you will find peace.
Lord God, in the trials of life, even those within my own family, keep my eyes on Jesus, my greatest love. Let nothing in this life keep me from the joys of the life to come through Jesus Christ my Savior. Amen.