Violence Is the Tool of the Coward

Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you are here to do.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested Him. Suddenly, one of those with Jesus put his hand on his sword, drew it, and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” Matthew 26:50-52

Approaching Easter, I want to make this point abundantly clear: the murder of Jesus was done by empire (not “the Jews”) because empire is TERRIFIED of people who bear, spread, and nurture the fruits of the Spirit. Empire can’t compete with gentle strength of divine origin. Empire is devoid of peace and joy rooted in God. Divine love convicts empire that it is profoundly immoral and self-serving. Ultimately, it cannot bear the weight of belovedness; it rejects the belovedness of others because it cannot accept its dependence on God’s limitless grace. Empire is simply immature.

As with anyone who is immature, empire cannot simply be told of its immaturity; it must be convicted. The power-hungry, narcissistic forces of this world are hoping to establish themselves as reasonable, normal, and necessary in a time of chaos and fear. They seek to create such times so that they can elevate themselves as idols to be worshipped (and feared, always feared). Empire cannot handle critique or correction, so it labels all dissenters as enemies. Empire is always ready to lash out against its critics and silence their commentary. Empire is a coward.

And we are called to convict empire of its fruitless desolation. We are called to convict the empire of its godless, self-exalting dehumanization of God’s beloved children. That is what following Jesus is all about. And nurturing, bearing, and spreading the fruits of the Spirit is the Way Jesus showed us. We were made to be courageous, not cowardly. We were made to be free, not in bondage to our desires for control. We were made to trust God, not to fear our enemies. Jesus went directly to the cross because He wanted us, you and me, to know with certainty that the way of empire is the way of death and destruction. It is the broad and easy path leading us to be cut off from God. And Jesus went, head held high, to convict empire, and to embolden all of us. He rose up, and with Him we rise.

Empire doesn’t stand a chance against fruitful disciples of Christ. Not a chance in hell.

In Prautés and with Pistis,
Pastor Andrew

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