Context: Jesus, after the Sermon on the Mount, makes His way through the land, instructing the people, curing the ill and afflicted, raising the dead, and manifesting His power over the waves of the Sea of Galilee. Having chosen His twelve disciples, He sets about teaching them their mission as His followers, attempts to prepare them for their life of persecution, and admonishes them to speak His message from the housetops. He says that the death of the body is nothing as compared with the death of the body and the soul, and He declares that God is concerned with their welfare. But He tells them not to expect His words to bring peace, but rather the strife of two opposing camps:
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.