How Jesus “Fights”

img_1904The scene unfolds in mere seconds. In the deep darkness lit by a several torches, a crowd approaches. Their intentions are clear. They’ve come to arrest Jesus and his followers. Where moments before the torchlight of his friends had lulled Peter to sleep, the torchlights of this hostile crowd snaps him awake.

He reacts. A glint of metal. A scream of pain. Malchus, the high priest’s servant, unsuccessfully dodges the swipe. The sword grazes the right side of his head and tears off his ear. He grabs his head as blood spurts between his fingers.

Jesus’ voice cuts through the anger and chaos, “That’s enough!” He reaches out, touches Malchus’ head and heals him.

Jesus and Peter face the same hostile crowd. But they operate from two completely different kingdoms. Jesus would soon tell Pilate, “My kingdom is not from this world.”

Peter does battle from his kingdom. In anger he lashes out, sheds blood and runs.

Jesus does battle from his kingdom. In peace, he reaches out, heals and surrenders.

As the saga moves toward the climax of the crucifixion, both Peter and Jesus would continue to act from their respective kingdoms. For Peter, the same fear that compelled him to attack and flee forced him to deny Christ.

But Jesus continues to “fight” in a manner fitting of his kingdom. He embodies the non-violent strategy of his own teaching in Matthew 5 — turn the other cheek, walk the second mile, give your shirt and coat. NT Wright summarizes, “He would stand there unresisting as people slapped him and mocked him. He would be compelled by the Roman soldiers to carry his burden all the way to Golgotha. He would find his clothes stripped off him and divided up. And, as he died, one of those very soldiers would declare that he really was the son of God.”

Notice the irony. A soldier, a trained killing machine of the most brutal kingdom on earth, upon witnessing Jesus’ “fight” declares that Jesus was the “son of God,” the true Caesar.

To quote NT Wright again, “When God wants to take charge of the world, he doesn’t send in the tanks. He sends in the poor and the meek.”

You see, Jesus always confronts the love of power of this world’s kingdom with the power of love of his New Creation kingdom. That’s how Jesus fights for a world worth fighting for.

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