“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34).
In 1873 the Colt Manufacturing Company produced a gun called “The Peacemaker.” A century later, America produced an ICBM with a nuclear warhead called “The Peacekeeper.”
To some, this was as confusing as the Prince of Peace saying, “I did not come to bring peace…” What do weapons such as guns, missiles, or swords have to do with peace? Much.
If there were no evil in the world, if there were no sin, there would be no reason for any weapons. There would be no reason for the Son of God to leave his throne on high to engage in battle against the forces of evil. There would be no reason for us to fight against Satan. The dream of the song from the ‘60s would come true: “And peace shall rule the planets.”
Only it is not true. Only, it will never be, until the planets are burned up at the arrival of their Creator in the clouds of glory. Until then, there will be war.
Even as we pray for peace among nations—and sometimes that prayer is granted—there will never be peace between the holy God and the powers of evil. “I did not come to bring peace…” Jesus said. He came to fight. After fasting for 40 days and nights, he was attacked by the Prince of Darkness in a desert. The weapon Satan used was not a knife or a sword. It was temptation.
A most powerful weapon. If Jesus had yielded to the temptation of taking the easy way out that Satan claimed to offer, all would be lost. We would be lost.
If Jesus had given in to the suggestion of Peter to not go to Jerusalem to die, all would be lost. We would be lost.
If Jesus had listened to the arrogant voices shouting at him to prove he was the Son of God by coming down from the cross, we would be lost.
The Prince of Peace had to go to war to destroy the cause of war. He had to win the battle against our deadliest enemies because we are too powerless to do so. He had to fight the decisive battle in our place. He had to win peace for us.
And he did. The war to rescue humans from the dominion of evil is over. But the Enemy has not yet left the field.
Warriors know to watch for snipers after a battle has been won. Sniper fire will kill as well as a ballistic missile.
You and I are still on the field of battle. We have not been commanded to stand down. Until then, we must be on guard. Until then, we must fight.
We will not be evacuated until angels arrive for our hero’s flight home to heaven. Then we will know perfect peace.
We pray: Lord Jesus, when we consider the battle you fought for us, we grow ashamed at the times we have waved the white flag of surrender when attacked by the old evil foe. You have not left us behind. You came with the power of your Word and sacrament to pull us back to your side. Keep us there. Use us to help others. Empower us to become peacekeepers in your kingdom. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer
WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military