Did Jesus Say “Brother Will Kill Brother?”
Question #2: What did Jesus mean when He said that brother would kill brother, and father would kill son?
“Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” —Matthew 10:21-22
He meant exactly what He said. In the first century, it was a life-threatening decision to worship Jesus. From the Roman perspective, worshiping Jesus as a god was no problem. There were many gods. Take your pick. But to worship Jesus alone as God was unacceptable. Not only would your life be in danger from the political powers, but from your parents and siblings as well. Jesus was simply speaking the truth of what was to come, that if you follow Him, your family might try to kill you. Jesus’ words remain true to this day. In many families and countries around the world, particularly in Muslim contexts, to trust Christ means putting one’s life in jeopardy. Who would kill you for simply “changing your religion?” Your father. Your brother. In the western world, where we generally enjoy religious freedom because of our Christian heritage, it is hard for us to understand how such things could happen. We read these words of Jesus about family members killing each other and find them difficult to understand, or think Jesus may have been speaking in hyperbole. There was no exaggeration here. This was reality for many Christians in the first century, as it is reality for many Christians around the world today.