“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:34-37)
There is a sense in which Jesus brought peace to the earth. Sinners like you and me have waged war against our good King, and we deserve His righteous wrath, but instead, He sent Jesus, His only Son, to die on the cross, paying the penalty for all of the sins of all who would believe in Him. In that sense, Jesus has given us peace with God.
There is another sense, as we see in the passage above, that Jesus did not bring peace. Christianity is not neutral. Our natural state is to “suppress the truth” by our “unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). Without the enlightening of the Holy Spirit, Christianity is detestable to the sinful mind. No one, on their own, wants to acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior. And so Jesus divides. He divides households. He divides father from son, mother from daughter. Jesus is not someone about whom we can simply agree to disagree.
Jesus calls His disciples to a love that transcends the powerful love between child and parent. He says that whoever loves his parents or his children more than Himself is not worthy of Him. At first glance, that sounds selfish and unreasonable. If I were to tell my friend, “You have to love me more than your parents or we can’t be friends”, I would be wrong to do so.
But I’m not God.
Jesus, my Lord and my God, is worthy of that supreme love and devotion, and it is right for Him to demand it from us. He is our Creator. He is our Sovereign. He is the Holy One. And He is our Savior. When a Christian considers who Jesus is and what He has done, he quickly and wholeheartedly agrees that no one deserves love of the same magnitude that we are to have for Him.
And consider this: if you are a believer, the Father crushed His only Son…for you. This love that He calls us to was first given by Him. He is incomparably worthy of supreme love.