Did Jesus dislike families? Did he have any reason to?
John 7 records that his brothers didn’t believe in him. What about his dad, what happened to Joseph? The family would be used as an excuse for not becoming his disciple. His own apostles, at times, were torn between following him and going back to their homes and families.
Here is a particularly difficult text about this in Matthew 10.
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” v. 34-35
“A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.” v. 36
A troubling thing for the Prince of Peace to say.
Matthew 10:34-36 is a quote from Micah 7:6. The prophet spoke against Judah and Israel for abandoning their faith. He condemned them for social injustice, the leader’s abusive behaviors, and how those with power brutalized the poor.
Micah 6:14 says that the leaders were attempting to stockpile for themselves olive oil, wine, and grains. But they would not enjoy any of it, for it would be forcefully taken by their enemies and their swords. Jesus’ sword was a metaphor, to illustrate that his presence and his message would separate the righteous from the unrighteous.
Micah spoke of the tribulation that would soon come upon the people. That a season of desperation would lead them to betray and abuse each other. They would steal from each other, even from the members of their own families.
Such was the context in which Jesus spoke against Israel’s leaders. He was about to send his apostles to preach throughout Israel and Galilee. He warned them about hardships, and about their being flogged in the synagogues. Jesus said that the message of the kingdom would divide families.
As it was for Micah the Prophet, so it was for the Son of David. He would challenge the people to return to God, to love one another, and to eliminate greed, injustice, and intolerance from their hearts.
Jesus’ message wasn’t always received with joy.
So, it makes it all the sweeter when I see families of faith. Yesterday, in both services, we had videos of families at home who led us in prayer, in communion, and in the process, touched our hearts and enriched our souls. It was beautiful.
Jesus wasn’t born to dislike people. He didn’t come to tear us apart or to divide friends and families. But he knew his message would create friction, for even within the same family, some would believe and some wouldn’t.
I thank God daily for our young families at the Southeast church. Thank you for your faith, and God bless you for sharing it with all of us.