Dear Friends in Christ,
It is an amazing reality of the Christian faith that Jesus of Nazareth whom we worship and adore as God made man, lived, breathed, and moved in an age without television, radio, the Internet or even the motor car. He was born into an ancient world without the printing press or means of communication which can reach, in an instant, millions of people. And yet, his words, the most holy, sacred and loving ever spoken, resound through history, speaking to every person, person to person, heart to heart, one to one.
His sweet words speak of those who are blessed; they speak of kindness, mercy, turning the other cheek and forgiving from the heart. His bitter words speak of judgement, punishment, millstones, hell and division. The things is that with Jesus, as much as one might want to pick and mix, select this teaching over that one, or prefer his sweet to his bitter words, we cannot: we have to study and pray on all of Jesus’ words.
Today we encounter an especially bitter teaching. It’s hard, isn’t it; to think that the Prince of Peace, whose first words after he had risen were ‘Peace be with you’, says also ‘Do you think I came to bring Peace to earth? No, I tell you, but division’. The trust is the name of Jesus divides as much as it unites. There are many in our world who despise the name of Jesus. Indeed, his name is used by many as a word of cursing. Try mentioning Jesus’ name in polite company. Sometimes even in Church circles, to mention the name of Jesus creates a hostile reaction. Why is this? It is because Jesus is God. His is the name above all other names and before him all things, in heaven and on earth, will bow down. Jesus did come to bring peace on earth but this peace was secures through the bloody suffering of his cross. First came division, hatred and violence, and then came the peace that only Jesus the Prince of Peace, can pour out, the peace of Christ in our hearts.