November 24

John 18:33-36

“Jesus answered, ‘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.’” vs. 36

Even though Jesus was the king he did not expect his followers to engage in military activity. Instead of picking up the sword they would wage war with deeds of love and kindness. It’s embarrassing to see how quickly his principles were forgotten. As soon as Christians had any kind of political power they quickly abandoned what Jesus had taught and adopted battle strategies that were identical to the ways of the world. Popes led forces equipped with the latest weapons. Bishops rode horses into battle swinging maces and creating mayhem. They even fought other Christians. The Thirty Years War in Europe resulted in massive devastation…and all the participating armies were led by Christians! Even today Christians are at the forefront of those clamoring for even bigger armies and more destructive weapons. But not all followers of Jesus have forgotten his words! There are many who work for peace and who are advocates for non-violent change. We can be grateful for their witness and presence…they are a constant reminder that the true kingdom of Jesus is greater than the world’s narrow provincialism. It transcends political parties and national boundaries and includes people of every race and creed. In his realm leaders are servants and heroes are peacemakers.

Thought for the Day: Why is pacifism so difficult?

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