In Luke 12:51-53 Jesus said:

Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three.

There must have been a larger point to this. What was the division that he spoke of? I can't imagine it's as simple as separating the "good" from the "bad" since he often made it clear that God holds no distinction between those two types of people, and loves everyone equally and unconditionally.

  • Did Jesus come to be part of the world system? No. He came from heaven. Was he supposed to conquer the world system at that time? No, not yet. The Father is patient and loving, and wants to give time for the work of His Church through His Spirit that resides in us. So did he come to bring peace to the world? He came to represent something in opposition to the world. Glory to the Name of the of the Lord. He finally has a name we can pronounce and spread throughout the world. The fact that there is opposition would seem to answer your question.
    – SDsolar
    Jul 24, 2017 at 3:40

5 Answers 5


Man was created for a loving relationship with God, therefore the first and greatest commandment:

Mark 12:30 …thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

Why do we love God?

1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.

We know this:

Revelation 1:5 …from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood

The division Christ speaks of is between those that love God and those that will not. Those that want what God wants for their lives and those that want what they want for their lives.

  • This is a good answer, and I may be picking at semantics here, but I don't know if it really gets at why Jesus says he came to create that division. It sounds like you're saying we're already free to - and some do - choose not to love God.
    – Yuck
    Oct 24, 2013 at 12:56
  • @Yuck Yes I believe the above scriptures do say we are at liberty to receive God's love or to reject God's love. Jesus is the faithful witness of God's love and much more. It is the evidence of God's love that will divide those that want what God wants from those that do not.
    – Rick
    Oct 24, 2013 at 13:31

I've often wondered about this passage. I currently read it less as a mission statement and more of a prophetic warning about religious conflicts that will arise as a result of some people accepting Christianity and others rejecting it. Jesus is warning his followers that following Him will not be easy, and that it may lead to conflicts even within single families.


Jesus Christ was prophesizing the severe punishment Israel was going to face which happened during Jewish Wars (66-70 AD).

The generation of Jews during the time of Jesus was extremely evil.

We see Jesus calling them "wicked (or sinful) and adulterous generation." (Matthew 12:39, Matthew 16:4, Mark 8:38, etc.). We also see Jesus calling people in that generation that their father is devil (John 8:44) due to their evil nature. We also see Both Jesus Christ and John the Baptist calling them "offspring of vipers" (Matthew 23, Luke 3).

Even Jewish Priest Josephus agrees with Jesus on the wickedness of that generation.

"I shall therefore speak my mind here at once briefly: — that neither did any other city suffer such miseries, nor did any age ever breed a generation more fruitful in wickedness than this was, from the beginning of the world." (Jewish Wars V, 10:5).

We all know that Jesus Christ came to forgive those who repent. But Jesus Christ also came to judge those who didn't repent.

Luke 12:51-53 can also be read in Matthew 10:34-36.

Matthew 10:34-36 (NIV) - "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household."

"A man's enemies will be the members of his own household" - This can also be read when Jesus Christ prophesized about the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the city of temple of Jerusalem in Mark 13, Luke 21.

Mark 13:12-13 (NIV) - "Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved."

Luke 21:16-19 (NIV) - "You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. Everyone will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. Stand firm, and you will win life."


He is speaking about division between believers and unbelievers , even between family members. Matthew 10:34-38 cross references the Luke account and gives a little more detail:

Matthew 10:34-38 (KJV)

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

35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.

37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

The sword represents his Word "which is sharper than any two edged sword piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit , and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" ( Hebrews 4:12). Those that didn't believe would be against, and even persecute, the believers. For example, a newly believing son or daughter in a family of faithful Hebrew people who followed the law and rejected Yahuwshuwa ( Jesus) would cause problems and arguments. Same as Greek believers among their pagan families. Or in more modern times in a Muslim family. This causes division and huge problems even today. Even causing beatings, kicking them out, or even death. The prophets also spoke of these things to come:

Isaiah 19:2 And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom.

Micah 7:6 For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man's enemies are the men of his own house.

lets look at some manifestations of this division in the scripture:

John 9:16 Because of this, some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for He does not keep the Sabbath." But others said, "How can a sinful man perform such signs?" And there was division among them.

John 10:19 Again there was division among the Jews because of Jesus' message.

Matthew 10:21 Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rise against their parents and have them put to death.

John 7:43 So there was a division among the people because of him

Acts 14:4 But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles.

Mark 13:13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

So the scriptures make it very clear that the coming of the Messiah caused great division between believers and unbelievers. Many believers were even martyred because of this.


The simple answer is that Jesus is unlike any other religious philosopher, he isn't about attonement as they say, he is about social justice and non-compliance with psychopaths, that's why he said I believe (don't actually know if he said it): thou drink their blood or their tears? Because as a fact in every society there's an abusive government in power that drinks your blood, an opposition that drinks your tears, and you are caught in the middle. Jesus shows a third way, the way of salvation from this system, the way of freedom, equality, and he shows us a method, to reject the system and its inherent corruption. My new favourite Jesus quote is " Luke 12:49-59 Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other!"

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    Welcome to the site. However, it seems you've mistaken the purpose of this site. I hope you choose to participate further, but before you do, you should read How we are different than other sites? and then the help page and What makes a good supported answer? Apr 19, 2014 at 17:42
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    In what way is this representative of the beliefs of any particular Christian group?
    – Caleb
    Apr 21, 2014 at 18:10
  • You're mistaken, because, I quote from you're link "we encourage on-topic questions about what Christians believe, and we only want answers that actually answer the question", and because you don't understand christianity at all, or you understand it and practice dissinformation for some evil purpose, but Jesus already foretold this, that people will be divided and the truth sayers persecuted just like you attempt to do - dissinformation and censorshipt are fascist characteristics. Christians / democrats believe in free speech and conscience Apr 23, 2014 at 5:50
  • P.S. This is a christian orthodox view, iudaic view, and Steinhardt's view who was first a jew then christian orthodox as proof Apr 23, 2014 at 5:53
  • I identify this site's moderation as the same stalinist effort in a new coat to usurp the true christianity which is about practical not theoretical creation of moral freedom, exactly why stalinists and hitlerists alike persecuted and assasinated jews and christians. My view point is even the view point of the american orthodox church who gave the dissident orthodox priest Gheorghe Calciu-Dumitreasa asylum from the fascists. "We love him, because he first loved us." is the worst answer, meaning love good because it's good for you, not about self-sacrifice as Jesus exemplified on the cross Apr 25, 2014 at 5:58

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