Jeremiah 28:1–9, Luke 12:49–56, John 14:27–31
There is something quite jarring in Jeremiah’s response to Hananiah. Did you catch it? Only when peace actually comes true will a prophet who prophesied peace be considered a true prophet. If you prophesy war, famine, pestilence, death, it’s all good. What?
Think about that for a moment. The implication of Jeremiah’s words is pretty huge. It could be called a “duh” moment. In other words, it really doesn’t take much to prophesy (and be accurate) that there will be conflict and natural disasters. That pretty much comes with the territory of a fallen world.
Yet, there was an expectation that the Messiah would bring peace. Jesus’ words in Luke put that to the question. Not peace, but a sword? It sounds so very warlike. If we think about it, most worldly peace is “won” through blood and death. So, if Jesus is bringing a sword, then what kind of war is it, now?
The Word of God is a two-edged sword. It is not just a symbol of war, but it is also a symbol of cutting.
Separating the followers in word only from those who follow from their hearts. In other words, it is not a “peace” of we’ll all get along, but a peace that separates the ways of the world from the ways of the Kingdom of God.
When Jesus says that he will give peace, but not as the world gives peace, we should be grateful. The world’s peace can be torn asunder very quickly, and often only with a spark. God’s peace passes all understanding.
1) Jeremiah’s words about prophets are disheartening, but they should also be encouraging? Why do you think that is?
2) We often cling to the image as Jesus as the Prince of Peace, yet the Sword of Truth would seem to be contrary to that. How do you work that out in your mind and heart? How would you explain that to someone else?
3) How have you seen the Peace of God come into your life?