“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34
I have never really understood that verse, that statement, that commitment, to an ambiguous God. So I have always nodded with acceptance – God is much wiser than me – the church is more knowing than me – I may find out one day (or never) what verses like that mean … But in the meantime, my job is not to question, my job is to accept … “what” …exactly?
Job. Accept. Church. Ambiguous God. Acceptance. Wiser than me. More knowing than me. My job is to accept … “what” exactly?
He had me search Biblegatway this morning for this: “I come not to” – and a ton of stuff came back – 197 verse references across the bible.
He was asking me to look for the verse above, “Do not suppose … ” But then He asked me to search for: “do not think” – which brings back 22 examples – including this (which I was not looking for):
“I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.”” 2 Corinthians 11:5
And then He drew me to Chapter 10: “Paul’s Defense of His Ministry” Which was written just a spit in time after Jesus.
Unconditional love is ambiguous.
On the surface it means “love to all”. Which we will always prefer to teach and preach as “be nice to all”. Be nice. Be compromise. Be settle for second best. Be don’t rock the boat. Be not a sword – be peace. And love can be that.
But love is not just that.
Love is not just a reward system. That is discipline and cultural norms. That is how we live together on an increasingly (human crowded) planet. A planet with rich and poor. That always has had both rich and …
The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. Matthew 26:11 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. Mark 14:7 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me. John 12:8
Love includes that reality as well. Love is Jesus.
Who never accepted “being nice” like we accept (and expect) of each other.
Love is – I believe – not just the ultimate sacrificial offering (on my behalf). Because I look around and see “the cross” on/in almost every church – on/around so many necks – a cross (empty/occupied at your preference) that says in our language:
“Be grateful – and because you must be grateful – you will be nice – that is how they will know us – by being nice – because God says.”
I believe that my God Soft Hands Jesus did not come just to leave me saved and forever grateful (and, therefore, forever “nice”). My God Jesus came to show me how to love you – how to love me – how to love Him and me and you the same.
My God Jesus used language of the time (forever updated in updated bible versions). And just as Jesus’ words are recorded in a language of that time and place – so are mine today.
But this language needs no updating and revising.
It is a language that will not accept second best. Love that will not expect second best. God who is not mine to recreate – God who needs no “fiddling” by me – no “smoothing off the rough edges”. A God of love who is everything we ever need … in every step of every journey that we ALL make … through our own living and loving.
So now you try and write an all-inclusive, inerrant, and infallible rule-book for even one person’s lifetime journey – let alone every infinitely different journey. And now make that a book of love – not your preferred rules in an updated rule book.
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
Jesus is not just to be found in the words that someone said He said. Because my God Soft Hands Jesus did not give me all the answers in a neatly typed (and forever revised) holy bible (full of discrepancies!).
My God lived and lives amongst us. My God guides my living and loving right now when I allow. My God draws me to others today, tomorrow, and yesterday.
And my God does this …
Because of this …
Is the sword He brings.