“…a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.”
Explanation and Commentary of Matthew 10:36
After explaining that he did not come to bring peace, but a sword, Jesus now says that a “man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.” Understandably, this can be confusing for many. After all, is Jesus not the Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6)? Did he not say, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Mt 5:9)? To be sure, Jesus’ death on the cross brought peace, first with God, and then with our fellow man. But here, Jesus is speaking in a completely different context.
Jesus was not as popular as one might have expected him to be in his life and his earthly ministry. He was, in fact, a rather polarizing person and proclaimed an even more polarizing message. To understand how the message of the already/not yet kingdom of God could be bad news for some, we have to remember that Jesus entered into the midst of a fallen and broken world, where many were given over to satan and were being somewhat rewarded for doing so by the prince of darkness. The evil one is content sometimes to wait until a person is in hell before he really begins to torture him. Otherwise, we might turn from him and to God in repentance. Those who are benefiting on earth from his reign will not only be resistant to Jesus, but also to his people. It is an absolute certainty that some will face this resistance from those in their own households.
Christians would do well to ask themselves if they are getting along too well with the world. We should be loving and forgiving, which are often qualities that are attractive to evening hardest hearts, but we should also be able to stand for truth in a culture that hates that truth. It is probably a sign this is exactly what is not happening if “all men love you” (Lk 6:26). All men did not love Jesus, and they will not love us either.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Matthew 10:36
#1 “…a man’s enemies…”
In one sense the Christian has no enemies because we are called to love our enemies. We may be their enemies, but they cease to be ours when we love and forgive them. But in this sense, Jesus means those who hate us and persecute us for following Jesus.
#2 “…will be the members of his own household.”
This is tragic but true. It is purely the grace of God when all one’s household repents and loves Jesus, such as was the case with the Philippian jailer. Nevertheless, many are called, but few are chosen (Mt 22:14), so it should come as no surprise when some in our own household oppose us in our faith.
Bible Study on Matthew 10:36
Expert Overview of Matthew Ch. 1-13
Biblical Translations of Matthew 10:36
“A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.”
“Your enemies will be right in your own household!”
“And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.”
“And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”
“And a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.”
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.