In our day there tends to be a lopsided view of Jesus. Most people think of Jesus (if they think of Him at all) as a kind and gentle teacher; a meek and mild man who wouldn’t harm a flea. Many people may even perceive Him as weak. It would be safe to say that most people view Jesus as a peace-loving man who wants everybody to love each other and “just get along.”
After reading this passage you may need to take a second look at these opinions. It is true that Jesus came preaching a message of love, peace, and true joy, yet that was only part of the picture. Jesus proclaimed, first and foremost, the truth. The truth about the truth is that it is seldom peaceful. Matthew’s depiction of Jesus portrays Him as a fiery prophet in the tradition of the Old Testament prophets that we have come to love. Jesus is proclaiming the message of truth about the Kingdom of God to the nation of Israel and He knows that the truth will rip this nation apart. He is calling His disciples to abandon all the securities of politics and family in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. In the end, the nation rejects the disciples’ message and Jesus pronounces judgments on the cities of Israel (11:20-24) in the same way the prophets did hundreds of years earlier.
Jesus and His message of the Kingdom hasn’t changed. We are Jesus’ disciples and He has called us to proclaim the message of the Kingdom of Heaven to the people of our culture. We are called to speak the whole truth to people who desperately need God. The truth will do one of two things to people. It will either melt their heart and draw them into the Kingdom of Heaven, or it will offend them and incite them to hate you, call you intolerant, label you a bigot, and try to get you demoted, thrown out, or imprisoned. Are you ready for the challenge? Do you believe the message is worth the risk?