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.
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Eusebius of Emesa
The Lord himself proclaims peace, which is why the apostle Paul also admonishes peace and says, “For he is our peace.” This means, of course, the peace of those who believe and receive. But in what way does he not bring peace to the earth? When the daughter believed and the father remained an unbeliever, “what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?” For the proclamation of peace caused a division. With a believing son and an unbelieving father there is necessarily strife. The peace that was proclaimed itself caused a division: a good division! For it is in peace that we are saved.
I am come to set a man at variance Not that this was the end or design of the coming of our Saviour; but that his coming, and his doctrine would have this effect, by reason of the obstinate resistance that many would make, and of their persecuting all such as should adhere to him. (Challoner)
Not that Christ came for this end, to cause divisions between father and son On the contrary, the Scriptures teach us to love every one without exception, and especially our kindred; but this is to shew, and foretell what would happen in the same families, when some of them were Christians. We have divers instances of the truth of this in the Lives of the Saints. (Witham)
No one can be connected with the earth and joined to heaven. Those who wish to enjoy the peace of heaven, must not be united to the lovers of this world by any connection. (Baradius)
And so when we are renewed by the water of baptism through the power of the Word, we are separated from the sins and ancestors of our origin; we are cut away from the inordinate love of father and mother as if by an incision from God’s sword, and we are divided from them. And as we shed our former self with its sins and unfaithfulness and are made new by the Spirit in mind and body, we will necessarily detest the habits of our old, inborn way of life.
Wherefore neither with this was He satisfied, but unfolds also the very nature of the war, signifying it to be far more grievous even than a civil war; and He says, I have 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.
For not friends only, says He, nor fellow citizens, but even kinsmen shall stand against one another, and nature shall be divided against herself. For I have come, says He, to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. That is, not merely among those of the same household is the war, but among those that are dearest, and extremely near to each other. And this more than anything signifies His power, that hearing these things, they both accepted Him, and set about persuading all others.
Yet was it not He that did this: of course not: but the wickedness of the other sort: nevertheless He says it...