Weapons Of Our Warfare
In the story of Jesus’ life in the weeks before His crucifixion, we read of the struggles and challenges He encountered with the so-called religious leaders of the day. They wanted to kill Jesus and in one account, a physical encounter resulting from ill will caused Jesus to intervene with a lesson for them…..and us.
Matthew 26:47 And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people.
48 Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.” 49 Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.
50 But Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?”
Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him. 51 And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.
52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”
55 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me. 56 But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.”
I’m reading from a devotional by Pastor Dean Deppe*, who says these words of Jesus largely go unheeded today. We choose war over peace; we choose intimidation over cooperation, propaganda over mutual understanding.
Judas and the armed crowd approached 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.” Let’s make every fiber of our being bristle against violence and stand up for God’s peace and justice.
*Devotional message prepared by Jim Huber, with some commentary from “The Weapons Of Our Warfare” by Pastor Dean Deppe, in Today: Refresh, Refocus, Renew; www.today.reframemedia.com, March 11, 2014.