“Put your gun away,” Jesus said

20 02 2018

Matthew 26 – A paraphrase

On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, Jesus and his disciples began preparing to celebrate Passover at their church. When evening came, they all enjoyed the Passover meal around a large table. Behind them was a bulletin board with all kinds of posters advertising upcoming church activities. The largest one was red, white, and blue, with the American and Christian flags flying from the barrel of a gun. In bold print we’re the words, “Rally for your God-given Second Amendment Rights: Saturday, 11:00 am.” Someone’s asked who was going. And that’s when Jesus interrupted.

“Hey y’all,” he said, “can I say something?”

They quieted down, and he continued. “So I know that there is much about me, and the life that I’ve called you to live, that you still don’t understand. Which is why tonight one of you is going to turn me over to the authorities. You think it will lead me to do something that I simply will not do; something I cannot do; something none of us should ever do.”

He paused, and saw that his friends were confused. “I know that the cops are coming,” he said, “and that you’re going to have me arrested.”

There was silence in the room. Confusion settled over everyone. No one was quite sure what to say.

Naturally, Peter was the one to eventually speak first. “What are you talking about Jesus? Have you arrested? Why would any of us do that?”

Jesus looked at Peter, and smiled. But then he turned his eyes to Judas, and everyone else did as well. The zealot’s frustration and anger had been obvious for days, but on this night, Judas looked like he was about to explode. He had been fidgety all through dinner, and as the night wore on, the more nervous and anxious he had become.

So Jesus picked up a piece of bread, and breaking it in half, he gave it to his friends, including Judas. He said, “This bread is like my body, which will be broken, and put to death, all because of the sins of the world. So eat it. Take it in, and know that this is the life to which I am calling each of you: a life that you are willing to give up and give away. Do not resist it, but accept it. For this is the way of God.”

Then, Jesus picked up his glass of wine, and said “This fruit of the vine looks very much like my blood, blood that will also be shed because of the brokenness of the world. Drink it always, and let it be a reminder of the life to which God calls us: where we love our enemies, turn the other cheek, and repay no one evil for evil.”

The heaviness in the room was palpable, and everyone needed to get outside. So they sang a song together, and then took a walk to a local park. The mood was still somber, and everyone was quietly reflecting on all that Jesus had said. Mindful of what was ahead, Jesus anxiously slipped away to be by himself.

An hour later, when he returned to his friends, they were all asleep. The only sounds to be heard in those lonely moments were the sounds of police sirens. When the cars stopped in front of the park, Jesus’ friends finally woke up. As the officers approached, Judas went up to Jesus, apologized for what he was about to do, and then gave him over to the officers.

As he was being taken into custody, one of Jesus’ friends, pulled a gun from her waist, and sobbing, told the officers to stop. Jesus quickly said to her, “What are you doing? Put your gun away! Societies that use guns, will be destroyed by guns. Do I know that it’s your right, and that you only want to protect me, yourself, and those you love? Of course I do. But that is not my way. That is not God’s way.”

Stunned and saddened, Jesus’ friends watched in disbelief as their friend was taken away, knowing full well what was ahead.


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