In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth issued a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.Revelation 1:16
There is an intriguing, recurring image of Christ in the book of Revelation as one who has a sharp sword coming out of his mouth; an image that is slightly disturbing – why would a weapon of destruction be associated with Christ – the one of love, peace and compassion – and why is it coming out of his mouth?
But this rather bizarre allegorical representation of Christ does in fact get to the nub of the gospel, doesn’t it? The sword is, of course, Christ’s words which ‘cut through all the crap’ and symbolically pierce everyone who comes in contact with Him. Those who tried to argue with Jesus (usually the religious leaders) didn’t get very far, did they? His words were (and still are), powerful, succinct and dangerous: the status quo will change. This is the reason why they wanted to obliterate him.
Christ’s words do not come with a ‘trigger warning’ but they have the power to knock people sideways. We could pick numerous examples of astonishing statements and directives, couldn’t we? How about, ‘Sell everything you have and give it to the poor and come follow me’ (Mark 10: 17-22) or ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life’ (John 11:25)? If his words don’t make you take a sharp intake of breath as if someone has punched you in the stomach, then something is seriously wrong. Who could ever go on believing (as so many seem to) that Jesus was just a ‘good man, but wasn’t who he claimed to be’ after reading such declarations? If he wasn’t who he claimed to be then he wasn’t a good man then, was he?
And sadly, most people don’t want this Christ; they want a different version – the ‘gentle Jesus meek and mild’ blessing everyone on the Mount. If that’s what you want then nothing in your life will ever change. Remember the rich young man turns sadly away when Jesus tells him to sell everything he’s got. It’s a step too far for him, isn’t it? And many would, of course, agree – what kind of ‘advice’ is this? Jesus takes you to the very edge; he slaps you in the face and shows you how shallow and hollow your life really is – he offers something more precious and fulfilling than anything this world can offer, but it’s not always easy – far from it! Notice it is a ‘double edged sword’, a phrase we now use to describe something with both good and bad consequences. There is a price – you have to give up focusing on yourself and ‘Mammon’ and concentrate on Him instead. And your life will never be the same again. Paul tells us that the Spirit searches everything, even the very depths of God (1 Corinthians 2: 6-13)– wow! We will never be bored again – there are infinite depths to discover that only He can reveal to us. Let’s do our best not to allow the ‘watered down’ version of Christ to be preached to others, let’s tell them instead about this Christ – the one with the sword.
5 thoughts on “A Sharp Two-edged Sword”
Yes Jesus is not “meek and mild” and demands our faith . Revelations reveals a different Christ ; like a soldier but as you say the sword symbolises words. It’s true how many awe-inspiring sentences spring from the Lord in the Bible. A powerful blog Dom.
A very lovely blog, to the point. Christ is not all lovey dovey, He gives you an ultimatum, take it or leave it, if you take it you reap the rewards, if you leave it you will fall. If you accept Christ this does not mean that it will be an easy road, if anything it will be difficult, you will be tested and put through the meat grinder, it is a good test of your integrity and perseverance. The end goal will hopefully be an individual aligned with God.
Great comment Stephen! Yes I was also just thinking Jesus himself said he came not to bring peace but a sword, didn’t he?
Hebrews 4:12 says this:
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
The scriptures are quite clear that the words of Jesus are living words, still powerfully active after all these years since they were originally spoken, and those words are double-edged and cut both ways. They pierce through us all, cutting away on both sides: everything that we are and everything that we pretend to be; everything we say and everything we actually mean; everything others take us to be and what we really are. Those words cut right to the very heart of what and who we are, even dividing the soul and the spirit, the earthly and the heavenly, what we are in the world of the flesh and what we long to be in the world of the spirit.
Like Dom’s previous post, I’m reminded yet again of how wonderful it is to live with Jesus and yet how hard!
Yes! Thanks for this Jack as I had totally forgotten about this bit of scripture! All the barriers people put up wanting to appear ‘sorted’ – we may not be able to break through the armour but Praise God – He can.
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