Jesus’ ministry begins with John:
“ Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to [John], and all the region along the Jordan, 6 and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
7 But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit worthy of repentance. 9 Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. 10 Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Matthew 4: 3-10
If we put this in the modern context and apply it to us (See Robert MacAfee Brown’s The Bible Speaks To You)
The country is at war (never a good thing) — Spiritual war, but war nonetheless. This, in fact, may be worse for those in power.
Our current government has shown its stripes. The Muslim Ban (“Let’s call it what it is… a Muslim Ban”, said Donald Trump) was the first step to the Mexican Ban, the asylum ban, the brown-on-the-border ban, the immigrant ban. This policy is simply an extension of that policy. We didn’t like all- of- them then and we don’t like all -of-them now. Any “them” will do. “Them” is whoever people define as “not real Americans”. Now, after 17 months, those politicians who supported The Man all along are have realized that they are in deep trouble with the voters because the vast majority of people know it is immoral and wrong to rip children away from their parents as punishment for wanting a better life. The voters are the least of their concerns in this spiritual war…
So let’s try this again:
“Then the people of Texas and all of America were going out to and all the region along the Rio Grande, and they were washing themselves before the TV cameras, confessing their sins. But when the people of God saw many the Haters and Those who Supported Hate For Their Own Power coming to say it was wrong, they said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have the Pilgrims as our ancestor’; for I tell you, these are the Pilgrims. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.“
Then Jesus himself speaks:
“When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely[b] on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Does anyone in this current administration think that they are poor in Spirit? The people who did this, did this because they think they are right and righteous. Donald Trump has said about God, “I’ve never had to apologize”, and Jeff Sessions quoted scripture. There people do not believe they are poor in Spirit. The people on the other side of their assaults think they are poor in spirit. Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit”. Guess which side Jesus is on.
Does anyone in this administration mourn? They seem to delight in their power to hurt others. The administration says, “Blessed are those who make others mourn”. The people they hurt mourn. Jesus says, “Blessed are those who mourn”. Guess which side Jesus is on?
Is there a meek one in this government? I haven’t seen one. These people own the earth right now. Jesus says, “the meek shall inherit the earth”. Guess who wins in the end?
Are our policymakers “hungering and thirsting for righteousness”? Donald Trump and his supporters thirst for power. Jesus said blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness”. Guess who is on Jesus’ good side?
Our government pursues a “Zero Tolerance Policy”, even when it runs out of resources to do it. Jesus says, “Blessed are the merciful”. Those who follow this policy refuse to be merciful. Guess what side Jesus is on?
Are those who implement or support these policies “pure in heart”? They think so. Sarah Sanders says that being rejected from a restaurant says more about “them” than her. Piety is not the same as being “pure in heart”. Will they see God? Possibly they will. Will they be happy about seeing God? No, I think they will not.
Does the policy of a Muslim Ban or a Brown ban make for peace? I’m not seeing it. Does the country feel peaceful? Not from what I read. Do people who consciously antagonize others make for peace? Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers”. Guess who Jesus stands with?
Who are the persecuted here? Is it those who are denied the chance to live with their families or is it those who get their feelings hurt while eating? When we understand who the persecuted are, we can figure out which group Jesus sides with. Do you want to guess who sees the kingdom of heaven?
“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account”? Trump lies all the time about people. He says Mexicans are rapists. Muslims are terrorists. Canada is our enemy. Guess who Jesus says is blessed?
These two stories are from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. There’s a lot more to come. Guess whose side Jesus is on?
Resisting with Peace,