(If I say something that is right, then God has inspired me. If I say something that is wrong, then it is my own mistake.)

“Think not that I come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.”

This is considered to be one of the more controversial statements in the New Testament, as it definitely sounds out of character coming from Jesus. But could there a deeper layer of meaning behind those words? Here is my take on this :

“Earth” = This world and all its materialistic distractions.
“Sword” = Jesus opposition to this materialistic world.

The “earth” Jesus was speaking about was the materialistic world he arrived into 2000 years ago.
Jesus  made it absolutely clear that he had no love for the world and repeatedly taught against being attached to it. The reason being, the world is full of materialistic distractions that causes one to lose focus on God. Jesus meant he was not here to make peace with such a world and identified it as a stumbling block to salvation.

Much like how Jesus used a whip to drive out the money changers and expressed his opposition to the temple being turned into a den of thieves… the sword that Jesus said he was bringing represents his opposition to the corrupt earth and is directed at the things in the earth that lead people astray from God. Jesus was not here to make “peace” with the world, in the sense he did not teach that one should become comfortable here in this world. Jesus refused to compromise by preaching the love of God and the love of this world. He did not preach that one should live to enjoy the pleasures of the world, as held by the unbelievers or as taught by misguided preachers through faulty doctrines. But rather he taught the exact opposite:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
-Matthew 6:19-24

Jesus taught people not to be attached to their temporary existence on the earth, but rather to be wary of it and stay focused on the world to come. Jesus also taught that the world and the love of its things are incompatible with the love of God.

“For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”
-Luke 16:15

And what are the things that men exalt among themselves on this earth? Wealth, fame, status, pride, godlessness… to name a few. Jesus teachings against loving the world and its things also inspired these later other teachings in the Bible.

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

“So whoever wants to be a friend of this world is an enemy of God”
– James 4:4

The division we later read about between members of a household represents the conflict in the choices made between them. Some will choose to make peace with the world and some will draw their own “swords” against the world and follow God.

As for bringing “peace”… Jesus will bring final peace to the earth someday… But it will not be a secular, “anything goes” kind of peace, but a righteous kind of peace that God would want.

God knows best.