Why does Jesus say in Luke Chapter 12 that he means to divide us?

An atheist brought up to me something Jesus says in Luke Chapter 12. In it, Jesus says that he comes to “cause division”. He speaks of this twice. My atheist friend says that this contradicts Jesus’s central message of love, so why bring division? Shouldn’t he unify us?

Context is everything.

Many Jews believed that immediately following the messiah would be a great era of peace. Thus many of who believed Jesus to be the messiah would have expected that great era of peace to arrive very soon. Jesus was warning that being His follower was not going to be easy and that the messianic peace would not be as previously thought. Being faithful to the Gospel would cause divisions within society and within people’s families. While it is true that following Christ brings peace but this provokes opposition and that opposition to Christ brings hatred, division, and discord.

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