Then they brought a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”

 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” (Matthew 12:22-25 NIV)

The Son of God’s arrival on the scene came at the cost of peace. Simeon prophesied to the baby Jesus’ mother, Mary, ”This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (Luke 2:34b-35)

In Matthew 10,  Jesus confirmed Simeon’s warning, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. (10:34)

Picture the strife Jesus caused by walking among the people, performing miracles and teaching about the Kingdom of God. The strife was not among the people because they loved the Lord. The strident opposition to the Savior was from the ruling class, the religious aristocrats. Especially hateful was the slanderous accusation that Jesus cast out demons by the power of the prince of demons. The religious establishment tried personal attacks by declaring he was illegitimate before they renewed the charge he was from Satan (cf. John 8:41b, 48, 52). Their irrational hate was barely satisfied when they crucified the Lord.

With all the evidence, why didn’t everyone welcome Christ as the Prince of Peace? It was because of judgment. Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world (John 9:39).

Judgment reveals innocence or guilt. If we’re old enough we may remember the fictional TV defense attorney Perry Mason. Perry took the hard cases. His clients looked guilty from the start. What Perry had a knack of doing was flushing out the real killer. It happened at the trial as the prosecutor’s case against Perry’s client began unraveling. Perry would then describe the murder scene in such detail that the person who did it would confess.

This is what Jesus means by for judgment. The righteous will stand in stark contrast to the wicked, like light contrasts with darkness. In judgment the wheat is separated from the weeds or the kernel from the chaff. Since judgment begins with the household of God (1 Peter 4:19), Jesus was the sword of judgment that divided God’s flock and flushed out the wolves in sheep’s clothing. The loud howling came from the wolves. Jesus said, “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.” (Luke 12:51)

This is a tough concept to grasp. We all want to believe Jesus brought peace and love, but that is not what happened–not among the Jews. He came unto his own but his own received him not (John 1:11). The Lord’s presence exposed the wide gulf between powerful King Herod, along with the religious leaders, and God who came to save them.

We lament the great divide in the U.S. and throughout the world, but to blame it on the new U.S. president is a stretch and politically inspired. Because the division is along truth and spiritual lines is why we hear the howling. God will judge who is on his side. It won’t be hard because of the difference between love and hate.

I am in no way morally-equating U.S. President Donald Trump with Our Savior. Not at all. But the charge that Trump is a divisive figure is undeserved. Their are two sides to every separation. If he had his way, he would like to win his enemies over and make them friends. There were two sides to consider. It is self-defeating to try and defend oneself.

Division was already present in 2015 when Trump announced his plan to run for office, only it was a bit more under the surface. It is true that America is deeply divided, but it has been for some time. By now we have forces at work attempting to overthrow the government. Without a spiritual revival, there is no way of healing the divide.

As rioters shout their protest slogans, smash windows, set fires and curse law enforcement, remember the world has seen this before: The Bolshevik Revolution before Lenin or Hitler’s brown shirts in the 1929 Munich “beer hall putsch”.  Unrelenting blame and accusation will, in fact, divide the house and then chaos. None but the most evil are going to like what emerges when God’s judgment comes.

In the middle of  America’s bloody Civil War, Abraham Lincoln quoted from Jesus. In his 1864 inaugural address, he said these profound words, “A house divided will not stand.”