Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” – John 18:36
When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. – Luke 22:49-51
They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” – Matthew 21:7-9
- WORD FOR THE DAY: “imbroglio” – noun: imbroglio; plural noun: imbroglio; an extremely confused, complicated, or embarrassing situation; a violently confused or bitterly complicated altercation
I’ve been thinking long and hard about the current political/social/cultural imbroglio surrounding this past weekend’s events at Charlottesville, the promise of more social unrest moving forward, and the president’s weak assertion that there is a moral equivalence between practitioners/proponents of racism, and those who protest against white supremacy and segregation.
Let’s Ask Jesus:
In consequence, my mind and heart have turned to Jesus, who would most certainly have us stand for and with the oppressed, have us speak out against injustice, and have us move beyond words and actually do something to turn back this rising tide of fear, ignorance, and hate.
And, there is also no doubt in my mind that Jesus values a good counter-protest, a well-organized alternative parade. Just look at the “triumphal Entry” on Palm Sunday.
The Romans were marching in from the west, moving a show of strength from the Caesarea garrison into Jerusalem for the Passover celebration, looking for all the world like a regiment of helmeted, shield carrying, weapon toting thugs. So Jesus enters the city from the east, riding a symbol of peace, and preaching peace, while his supporters spread symbols of peace on the path, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
But it’s worth noting The Jesus Parade didn’t attempt to occupy the same space as the Romans, didn’t threaten the soldiers, didn’t scream in their faces, didn’t get caught up in any violent confrontations, didn’t throw rocks and more into their ranks. Instead the Jesus people made a lot of noise – obvious noise – and they pulled the attention of the crowds away from the darkness and into the light.
Later, after he is arrested, Jesus tells his followers to put their weapons away. “No more of this!” he admonished Peter, and, “Put your sword away!” (John 18).
Fact is, regarding making a point by using force or violence, Jesus is very clear about where the authority of right comes from, and of the kind of conduct he expects from those who live under the banner of his name: “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here” (John 18:36).
Or, in a paraphrase I’m especially fond of, “My kingdom operates by different principles. If I did things according to the same-old same-old, then you’d see shoving and screaming and cursing and fighting and knives and baseball bats and stones and more… But you won’t, because my kingdom is something new; I’m not from around here.”
So, brothers and sisters, followers of The Way, children of the Living God – are we going to be just like everyone else? Or, are we going to follow Jesus when it comes to how we face evil, speak truth to power, and take the light of the Good News into every place we possibly can?
In love, and because of love – DEREK