Do you think I bring peace on earth?
Do you think I have come to bring peace on earth? (Luke 12:51)
I love art, and I especially love paintings of Jesus and Biblical scenes. Paintings depicting Christ as the Good Shepherd, watching over a flock or tenderly holding a lamb are among my favorites. However, these paintings can tend to skew our view of Jesus and we come to think of Him as passive, tender, and gentle. While these traits are certainly true of Him, we can easily forget about the angry Christ storming the gates of the temple alone, armed with but a whip, and driving out the moneychangers.
John's vision of the Savior provides a different perspective of the Gentle Shepherd, "And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead." (Revelation 1:12-17; see also 19:11-16)
Jesus said He did not come to bring peace on earth, but that His coming would cause division. Families and friends would be divided because of Him, mothers against daughters and fathers against sons (Matthew 10:35-36). Someone who is passive and gentle is not hated and beaten and crucified. But someone who's words can strike your heart and turn your world upside-down will make a few converts of those who are receptive and many enemies of those whose hearts are hardened.
Jesus is who He is. There is no Plan B. He will not change who He is to accommodate our perceptions. No, He instead will change our way of thinking.