What is the meaning of Christ's words in Matthew 10:34?
The Christian way of life brings peace to those who live it, so Jesus Christ's comments in Matthew:10:34 seem puzzling at first. He said, "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword."
In order to understand what He meant, we need to look at the context in which He said these words. The audience He addressed expected and anticipated the establishment of the Kingdom of God in fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. Christ wanted His disciples to understand that it was not yet time for Him to establish the peaceful Kingdom. Instead, He warned that Christians would face hostility for living God's way of life.
It's not that Christ instigated animosity, but rather that unconverted people resented God's truth by nature. The apostle Paul expressed this in Romans:8:7: "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be." When all people repent and are converted, God's way of life will bring peace to the entire earth (Isaiah:2:2-4; 9:7). But, until that time, Christians will encounter conflict and opposition over their beliefs and practices.
For more insight, please read our booklet Who Is God?