Questions of the Week

How do you respond to a Muslim who quotes Matthew 10:34-36 and Luke 12:49-53 and says that Jesus did not bring peace to the world but gave rise to a very violent faith?

Answer:  Let’s take up the passages you asked about one at a time. In Matthew 10:34-36, Jesus is referring to the sword metaphorically (the Bible uses many metaphors, as you know). The reason scholars can come to this conclusion is that Jesus later rebuked those who tried to take up the sword to defend him in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 25:52).

Central to the message and life of Jesus was loving your enemies, not killing them or even getting even with them (Matthew 5:44). So why did Jesus use the metaphor of a sword in this context? The sword is symbolic of God’s divine judgment (Psalm 7:12). Here, Jesus uses it as a metaphor of separation between those who believe and those who don’t, even if believers and unbelievers are in the same family.

We know that some who follow Christ are hated by their family members. We also know that throughout the centuries, millions have been killed for believing in Jesus. That’s what Jesus means when he says He did not come to bring peace, but a sword. The cost of believing in Jesus can be very great. But the love of Jesus must be greater than the love of a family member.

The same comments can be made for Luke 12:49-53. Jesus knew that some would accept His message, and some would reject it. In this way his ministry would be like a fire. In the Bible, fire is also a metaphor for judgment and purification. Jesus did come to bring peace, not as the world gives, but “peace of mind and heart” (John 14:27).


4 Responses to “Does Jesus advocate violence?”  

  1. 1 Alan Slater

    Hi You Guys,
    I watched your TV program this week for the first time, It was great!!
    I am still working on putting together our website.
    We are missionaries with the PAOC & AG here in Guatemala. We are building a Christian technical school for the marginalized youth and I believe the material you are making available will be of tremendous help as we present our Christian World View.
    Please keep up the good work.

    God Bless.

    Alan.

  2. 2 Stan

    Alan–

    Thanks for the encouraging word. I’m impressed that you can watch “Christianity 101″ in Guatemala. May the Lord bless your work among the youth in that country. You are to be commended for living on the edge to do the Lord’s work.

    Stan

  3. 3 Abba

    Thanks for the response, however, how can anyone who reads the Bible and studies history possibly deny the infinate atrocities and massacres committed in the name of Jesus? How many times did Christians put the ENTIRE POPULATION on Jerusalem to Death by the sword? How many died during the Inquisition? How many were executed for Heresy or Blasphemy? Copernicus had to “reform” his ideas about the cosmos because they flew in the face of the Church’s Dogma.
    Please, at least be honest about Christianity with the same zeal you would defame other faiths like Islam or Judiasm. Jesus would ask nothing less of you.

  4. 4 Stan

    We would not deny that people have carried out atrocities in the name of Jesus. That is the by-product of corrupt and sinful people, however, not because Jesus advocates violence. We would question your statement that Christians put the entire population of Jerusalem to death. Where did you come up with that? Is there something in history that we missed? As for your other statement that we “defame” other faiths, we would ask that you support your statement. That’s a very serious charge. We explain the beliefs of other faiths from their own holy books and practices. How is that defaming?

    Stan