I know, it’s been a while since I’ve done a blog post – and for those who actually read them, I am sorry for that. But life’s not been running at much of straight line recently; and I’ll explain why at some not-so-distant point in the future (hopefully!).
For the time being I thought I’d just share a quick “brain doodle”, while I’ve got the opportunity.
In the midst of the lent period, and in the run up to Easter, I’ve been thinking about the stories contained within the New Testament that focus upon Jesus’ remaining hours before his crucifixion.
In particular, the scene when Jesus is betrayed; an armed group come to arrest Jesus and one of the disciples (John says that it’s Peter) steps forward and slashes of the ear of the high priests servant.
Peter thinks he’s protecting Jesus – helping the cause – but Jesus rebukes Peter and proceeds (so Luke’s account says) to touch the victims wound and heal him. (You can read the story in all four gospels, but this is only mentioned in Luke 22:47-53).
I found this interesting, and I thought about some of the ways in which we talk about and manifest Jesus as his followers – especially when it comes to defending him.
I’ve seen Peter’s approach happen many times – as a youngster I was even on the receiving end of it once or twice – we can lash out in an angry defensiveness thinking we’re protecting Jesus and helping him out. When actually, we’re just maiming people from hearing and seeing what Jesus is like.
I get it. I understand it. But its not good.
Jesus doesn’t need protecting. That’s not a dismissal of good apologetics or us sharing our faith, but a reminder that we need to check our temperament and motivations before we speak.
The thing is, whenever we lash out thinking we’re taking Jesus’ side, we’ll find Jesus on the side of the victim of our abuse; stretching out his hand in compassion to heal those we’ve hurt with our condemnation, our scape-goating and our religious fanaticism. He’s not standing with us, looking on and saying, “good job”.
Jesus will always take the side of those whose ears we have closed with our childish swordplay. We think we’re defending Jesus, when often, we’re deafening people to the good news of his kingdom.
We must always remember, a true message of forgiveness doesn’t leave people in a state were they’re unable to hear it.
The Header image is entitled “Disconnected” by LoonyVultures, at Deviantart.com
Tristan Sherwin is the author of Love: Expressed – Out Now!