Summary: The nimble adroitness needed for sword fighting seemed severely limited by the floppy handles and fat blades filled with air, but at least they were safe. High adventure with ABSOLUTELY NO DANGER.
Part 17 - Matthew 10:34-42 - GIVE ME MORE THAN A BLOW-UP SWORD!
My youngest grandson had a birthday party not too long back. It was a pirate party so all his mates came dressed in pirate gear - eye-patches, head scarves, etc. At the door we presented every pirate with a plastic blow-up sword, which looked good but caused no damage at all. They wielded their plastic blow-up swords with a distinct lack of dexterity. The nimble adroitness needed for sword fighting seemed severely limited by the floppy handles and fat blades filled with air, but at least they were safe. High adventure with ABSOLUTELY NO DANGER. Every parent wants this for their children. Every child went on to more dangerous pursuits.
That’s the kind of spiritual warfare we as Christians have preferred to wage at times - to go at it with our blow-up swords filled with hot air, waving them around with no skill and causing no harm to the enemy, rather than wielding the sword of God’s Word (Ephesians 6:17) with the skill of one who has studied it to show himself approved, a swordsman who needs not to be ashamed (see 2 Timothy 2:15).
Jesus shocks me with His purpose in Matthew 10:34 (NLT) when He says "Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came NOT TO BRING PEACE, BUT A SWORD."
If you’re a pacifist, you have to cut this verse out of your Bible because it doesn’t portray Jesus as MEEK AND MILD. He doesn’t fit the mould of pacifism - one concerned with the peace that the world brings, anymore than He does that of a warmonger - a person who advocates war.
Yes, Jesus’ offers peace with God that comes from knowing Him personally - peace on the inside that works it’s way outside to those around you. But the fact is that while sin remains on the earth, there will also be SPIRITUAL WARFARE - He wields a A SWORD and there is CONFLICT. Jesus claims VICTORY over sin and death and the evil one. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:7 (NLT) "We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the WEAPONS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS in the right hand for ATTACK and the left hand for DEFENSE."
John 16:33 (NLT) says "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have OVERCOME the world."
After all Jesus has gone through, He has EARNED THE RIGHT tell me that there is VICTORY for me in Him if I endure to the end. He of all people knows what it means to OVERCOME! Romans 8:37 (NLT) says, "...OVERWHELMING VICTORY is ours through Christ, who loved us." We are "MORE THAN CONQUERORS in Christ" (NIV).
What sword is Jesus speaking about that overcomes the world? Hebrews 4:12 (NLT) says "For the WORD OF GOD is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest TWO-EDGED SWORD, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires."
God bless you Church as you enter into battle with more than a blow-up sword. We are in a spiritual battle and there will be conflict! We are "MORE THAN CONQUERORS in Christ" (Romans 8:37 NIV).
Ephesians 6:10-18 says it all! "Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armour so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armour of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere." (Ephesians 6:10-18 NLT)