John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
Matthew 10:34 "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."
At first glance, it may seem that these two verses contradict one another. However, they do not. This is life in the Kingdom, life on the edge. Every situation is a not a peaceful one but in every situation, the peace of God is available. We do not and cannot make peace with evil. But in the midst of evil, we can experience the peace of God in our own hearts. We do not take up our own swords, to battle in our own strength; we take up the sword of the Lord which is powerful in every situation. In Ephesians 6, we are told that the Word of God is His sword. And Hebrews 4 also speaks of that sword. For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. The Word of God can go down to the very root of the problem and bring deliverance and healing. And then, there can be peace.
The peace of God is a very powerful place to stand. Lord, help us to receive the peace you have given and to take our stand in that peace, wielding Your sword when necessary. I have often wondered at Jesus' conversation with His disciples in Luke 22:36-38. He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: 'And he was numbered with the transgressors'; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment."
The disciples said, "See, Lord, here are two swords."
"That is enough," he replied.
And then in Matthew's account, we find this testimony: Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus' companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
"Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?" [This was also recorded in Luke's account and it tells us also that Jesus healed the servant's ear.]
Jesus' mission wasn't about defending Himself; it was about doing the will of the Father. And in the Father's great wisdom, He had devised a plan to defeat evil in such a profound way as through the death of His Son for all mankind. Isaiah 53:5 gives insight: But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. Luke's account of taking the two swords was followed by Jesus and His disciples going out to the Mount of Olives, Jesus' prayer closet, if you will. Verse 40 records Jesus' instruction to His disciples, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation."
In many situations we are tempted to take matters in our own hands and to judge by what we see or feel or think. It behooves us greatly to head Jesus' instructions when in the place of conflict, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation." In prayer, as with Jesus here in Gethsemane, we come into a place of submission to the will of God. Peace is only a prayer away. But oh how great a distance that can be if not bridged by prayer. Alone we falter; with the Lord we can stand. In Isaiah's prophecy of the Messiah, Isaiah 9, we read these words, For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. Jesus is our peace!