Daily Devotion - January 14, 2021 - Peace or No Peace?

Pastor: Connie Belmore

Daily Devotion – January 14, 2021
Matthew 10:34-42
Weekly Theme: Come Follow Me
Today: Peace or No Peace?

Less than a month ago we lit our advent candle of peace. Sermons were preached about the hope, love, joy and peace we experience in Christ. After all, the Bible speaks of Jesus as the Prince of Peace, and the angels said, upon his birth, “Peace on Earth, good will toward men (people)”. If these are accurate descriptions of Jesus and what Jesus stands for, why does Jesus say in today’s reading, “Don’t assume that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword”. Why would Jesus, as he asks people to follow him, say that his purpose and mission is not to bring peace? If he was prophesied to be the Prince of Peace and if we assume he is bringing peace when we hear that angels sang “peace on earth” at his birth, how can we not conclude that he came to bring peace?

After this week in our country, we understand, that we definitely do not live in a world full of hope, love, joy and peace. Jesus came to earth to show and teach us how to live, to die and pay the penalty for our sins, to be raised from the dead by God Almighty, and to ascend to heaven to intercede on our behalf until he calls us home. He turned the world upside down by showing people that the very essence of the kingdom of God is love. God is love. But Jesus did not come to bring peace. He came to save us and begin the process of kingdom building and to be an agent of peace but if he had brought peace once and for all, our country would not be going through what it is going through right now.

What is Jesus saying in today’s passage? He is warning us that when we take a stand for the gospel of Jesus Christ, and associate with Jesus, it may cause problems in our relationships with others, to include our family. Jesus is telling his disciples then and now that identifying with him will cause hardships and persecution if you are a visible and verbal follower of Jesus. If we as Christians are not willing to be that type of follower, we are distancing ourselves from Jesus. We have studied through the devotions so far this week that in order to experience the full peace that Jesus promises, we must be willing to lose the life we have and identify with Christ. We must give our lives to Christ… all of ourselves—our impure thoughts, our hatred, our anger --- all that prevents us from loving – then Christ gives life back to us. If we do not give our whole selves for Christ, then eventually we will lose our life. As followers of Jesus and as his representatives, we should be living a life of peace and sharing that peace with others. Until Christ returns, we must have faith that eternal hope, love, joy and peace are coming, and acknowledge our roles right now as agents of peace in the meantime. And always remember, Jesus came as the Word, as God incarnate. The Word is sharper than any two- edged sword and cuts deep through the power of the Holy Spirit to bring about true and eternal hope, love, joy and peace. During these times of hatred and dissension, I urge you to please join me in being agents of these gifts of the kingdom which Jesus desires for us and that one day we will experience eternally.

Dear God, thank you for Jesus who came to show us how to live and called us to be his disciples which comes at a cost that could cost us our relationships. Being a follower of Christ, means taking a stand against what is ungodly and not right, and sometimes even families disagree on this. Give us strength and courage, and love, to go forward and be and make disciples in your name. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

  August 2021  
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