People of Peace In a Time of War
How should Christians respond when they are confronted with violence? Is it appropriate for us to fight back, or should we love our enemies? While our culture sees violence as a necessary evil we must sometimes engage in to ensure peace, Jesus says something else. His people, the church should follow his command to love our enemies. Simply put, we should be people of peace in a time of war.
In Luke 13:1-3 Jesus warns his listeners that they must repent of their sins or they will perish. But the context here, suggests that they must repent of their collective sin. Since this is in connection with Pilate’s act of sacrilege, Jesus seems to be telling the people to turn away from the religious violence they are contemplating. Jesus is trying to tell them that if they employ religious violence, God won’t be on their side. The results would be catastrophic.
Jesus’ dire warnings came to fruition a generation later when armed Jewish nationalists provoked a war with Rome. The Jewish historian Josephus claimed that a million people died in the siege. This episode shows how when we pursue violence, even when we feel it’s justifiable, God isn’t necessarily on our side.
As we look at the present global situation, this truth should guide how we respond to the violence Russia is inflicting on Ukraine. A further escalation of violence isn’t consistent with Jesus’ command to his people to love their enemies. Instead, we try to bring about reconciliation through non-violent means like prayer, using our prophetic voice or making financial and material contributions. While it may not be popular, we must remember that Jesus calls us to be people of peace in a time of war.
Other sermons in this series