Put Your Sword Back

Put your sword back! These are the last words—a definitive rebuke—the disciples hear from Jesus before they run away. If ever there was a moment in God’s eyes when violence would be justifiable, this is it! But Jesus is clear: Put your sword back! His followers are not allowed to respond with violence. They are not allowed to kill. They are not allowed to harm others. They are not allowed to ‘deter’ violent crime with the use of violence.

Why? Because all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Violence begets violence. Killing begets killing. Nukes beget more nukes. Death begets death. Jesus, the incarnation of the God of nonviolence, stands for life. He will not succumb to the way of violence. Although he knows that he will perish under the cross’s violence, he places his hope in the God of Life and awaits that third day.” — John Dear, from Bread and Wine: Reading for Lent and Easter