March 11, 2014

The Weapons of Our Warfare

Matthew 26:47-56

“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”
—Matthew 26:52


These words of Jesus largely go unheeded today. We choose war over peace, intimidation over cooperation, propaganda over mutual understanding.

Judas and the armed crowd ap-proached Jesus with weapons and a deceptive greeting. When they seized Jesus to arrest him, Jesus’ disciples reacted with reciprocal violence.

In pressure situations we are tempted to use weapons of this world. We grab the dagger of forceful words and chop people to pieces. We insist on revenge. We are ready to strike if we don’t get our way. We take people to court. Christians often play the game of intimidation, control, and approval just as much as the world does.

But non-violence is the path Jesus chose. We must disarm our mouth, demilitarize our mind, and pacify our heart. We all know what happens when the honeybee uses its stinger; it dies. Jesus calls us to produce honey rather than a stinger. Do not return evil for evil. Turn the other cheek. Go the extra mile. If your enemy is hungry, feed him. Jesus manufactured weapons of love and persuasion. Paul insists, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4).

In his death Jesus purchased peace with God for us. He says to us, “Put your sword back in its place.”

Lord, may every fiber of our being bristle against violence and stand up for your peace and justice. Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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