Those who believe in a passive, hippy Jesus probably don’t like reading these verses. But the things Jesus said and did are radical and controversial. The thing to remember is that this is a problem with us, not with Him. Our sinful selves want to rule our own lives, not accept that God The fires of judgement are coming whether we expect them or not, and Jesus is ready and eager to bring them.
There are now 5 days left until Christmas this year. I am struck by the tension of the angels declaring “Peace on earth!” at Jesus’s birth, and then Jesus saying, “Do you think I have come to give peace on earth?” (v. 51) We would do well to remember that wasn’t the entirety of the angel’s message. “‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’” (Luke 2:14) Those who please God are going to have peace (with God, in particular). Those who don’t will see God’s glory and tremble for the disaster that will befall them.
Serving God will always set us apart from those who do not. As the Apostle Paul said, “so far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18)
Come quickly, Lord Jesus. Make everything right on the earth once again.