Weird Verse Wednesday: I Hate My Family - Matthew 10:34-37
Enemy #1 - Your Mother in Law
You might think that your biggest nemesis is your frenemy from work.
But in Matthew 10:36 the Bible says that your worst enemy will be those of your own household.
36 And a person's enemies will be those of his own household.
On top of that, a lot of us think Jesus came to bring peace, but in Matthew 10:34 Jesus tells us He doesn’t bring peace, but a sword.
34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
Here is the whole portion of Scripture that I’m going to tackle on this glorious Weird Verse Wednesday
34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 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. 36 And a person's enemies will be those of his own household. 37 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.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard a good sermon that actually did this portion of Scripture justice. A lot of times, it is used just to say that you need to love Jesus significantly more than you love anyone here on earth. That is true, and that is what Jesus is saying in verse 37. However, that doesn’t explain why Jesus said that He has come to set a man against his father, and that he brings a sword.
I love what Dr. Constable says in his Bible notes about this -
“Jesus spoke of the consequences of His first coming in terms that sounded like they were His main purpose in coming. But He came to bring this kind of conflict only in an indirect sense. By expressing Himself in this way, Jesus demonstrated His Christological and eschatological awareness. These conditions will prevail before Jesus' second coming, too.” -Thomas Constable
You need to look deeper into the Bible to see what Jesus was talking about. He is quoting Micah 7:6 which says “for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man's enemies are the men of his own house.” The prophecy in Micah is directly referring to the reign of King Ahaz, but it ultimately pointed to a great divide during Jesus’s day.
When Jesus came to earth as our Messiah, families were going to be divided over this. We see in several stories in the gospels that the Pharisees (the religious leaders of the time) rejected Jesus and His teachings, while others went against the religious leaders and believed Jesus to be the Christ. This would surely divide families at the time, and we see the rifts of those divisions today. Otherwise there would be no difference between the Jewish religion and Christianity. Even today this holds true. John Macarthur puts it like this -
“Though the ultimate end of the gospel is peace with God (John 14:27, Rom. 8:6), its immediate result is frequently conflict. Conversion to Christ can result in strained family relationships, persecution, and even martyrdom. Following Christ presupposes a willingness to endure such hardships. Though He is called Prince of Peace, Christ will have no one deluded into thinking that He calls believers to a life free from conflict.” - John Macarthur
So what Jesus is essentially doing, is proving (yet again) that He is the Messiah that was promised in the Old Testament. He is the fulfillment of Micah 7:6.
Though I have not experienced it myself, since my family is all Christian, I know close friends that have been divided from their family because their family does not support their relationship with Jesus. This still plays out to be true today.
Christianity is the most exclusive “religion”, because it says that Jesus is THE way to Heaven. There is no other way to be in Heaven with the Father but through Jesus. However, the good news is that it is almost the most inclusive. Whosoever believes in Him can be saved. I’m praying for you and your family. That you would find peace in Jesus, and that they would come to know Him as well.
Peace be with you! :p