Thursday, December 01, 2016

Jesus Came To End War

Over the last few years, I've debated and argued and reasoned with many Christians on the subject of non-violence.

I've tackled all the usual arguments - what about Cornelius the centurion, or when Jesus overturned the tables in the Temple, or when Jesus said he came to bring a sword, or when Jesus told the disciples to go and buy a sword - and I've recorded podcasts, made videos, hosted events, and written blogs and books to answer all of those objections to the idea that Jesus really was anti-war and pro-peace.

But here's another angle on the whole subject:

Jesus is the Messiah.

The Messiah is called the "Prince of Peace".

It is prophesied in Isaiah that he would "do no violence".

His mission is to "teach us his ways so that we may walk in his paths."

His "path" leads the nations to "beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks" so that "nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore."

When Jesus arrives on the scene, he comes as a baby, not a warrior.

His birth is announced by angels who proclaim, "Peace on earth!" and goodwill to all men.

His message was that we should love one another, and turn the other cheek, and bless those who curse us, and do good to those who hate us.

After saying that he added, "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord' and do not do what I say?"

He rebuked James and John when they wanted to call down fire from heaven against another person saying, "you know not what spirit you are of".

He wept as he entered Jerusalem - the city of peace - on a donkey saying, "If only you had known the things that make for peace."

He disarmed Peter saying, "Those who live by the sword will die by the sword."

He told Pilate at his trial, "My Kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my disciples would fight."

He prayed for those centurions who nailed him to the cross saying, "Father forgive them, they know not what they are doing."

He rose from the dead, appeared to the disciples who abandoned him and denied him and said, "Peace!"

He disarmed a zealous Pharisee named Saul of Tarsus who was going around having Christians arrested, beaten and stoned to death saying, "It is hard for you to kick against the pricks" - meaning that violence against his children was physically painful to him as well.

This same Pharisee denounced violence and began to preach "the gospel of peace" wherever he went.

He reminded us that "our weapons are not carnal" and that our enemy is "not flesh and blood."

He urged us to "overcome evil with good" and reminded us to "feed our enemy if they are hungry and to give them water if they are thirsty."

Jesus is the Prince of Peace. 

His Kingdom is here now.

His purpose is to overcome evil with good; to disarm hatred with love; to transform this violent world with proactive agape.

This is not a fringe teaching. It is not an addition to the Gospel. 

It IS the Gospel of Jesus.


1 comment:

Steve Simms said...

Great post, Keith. The Good News is that we are no longer servants to the kingdoms of this world and to the principalities behind them; but we have been translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son! Now as aliens and pilgrims we are called to live in this world, but not by the world's values and standards. We are now colonists bringing Heaven's ways of love, humility, compassion, peace, and non-violence into a world torn by strife and war.