As we finish up Lent and head into Easter, I think that the story of Jesus has lessons for us today, right now, in the United States.
And I realize this because of a pro-gun person the March for our Lives rally last week.
He said that it was necessary for him to have military grade weapons in case it was necessary to overthrow the government. This, while terrifying, is a more legitimate reason than most for having these sorts of weapons, but I’m pretty sure it also is not the example that Jesus would want us to have.
Yes there is the one line in Luke (22:36) about taking up your swords…but it is clear that it was meant metaphorically because that line is in contradiction to the way that Jesus actually lived his life.
You have to remember one very big detail about Jesus’s life and times: He lived in an occupied country. The disciple Judas was most likely a member of a group of freedom fighters looking to oppose Rome… just like that guy at the rally wanted to be able to overthrow the government.
And yet Jesus did nothing of the sort, despite the expectations of his followers. He went so far as to reaffirm the power of the Earthly government of Rome (Matthew 22:21)! One of the temptations He was presented with was to overthrow Rome (and the rest of the world), and rather than succumb, He turned away from that temptation. When Peter used violence to prevent the arrest of Jesus, He made the apostles to lay down their arms and healed the centurion who have been injured.
There’s only one example where Jesus actually resorted to anger and violence: the desecration of the Temple with earthly concerns and money.
Mega churches and televangelist take note.
Jesus saved his disdain for those who mixed religion and politics, for those who mixed religion and money, for those who used their position and power to further themselves.
And when offered power far greater than any AR-15, He refused it.
Reflect on that this Holy Week.
And for once think about what would Jesus do.