peacemaker, peacebreaker

preachinga j.o.t. (just one thought), based on John 12.1-11, shared with the people of Epiphany Episcopal Church, Laurens, SC, during Evening Prayer on Monday in Holy Week, March 21, 2016

When the great crowd of the (people) learned that (Jesus) was there, they came not only because of (him) but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many of the (people) were…believing in Jesus.[1]

In the game of chance, once the die is cast, tossed there is no turning back. Wherever, however it lands determines the result.

So it is with Jesus. The opposition against him has risen to the proverbial fevered pitch. The chief priests, the religious authorities, the keepers of all that is righteous and good in the name of God, are desperate. They want Jesus dead, for he has disturbed the peace of their sacred order of things. And not only Jesus. They want to kill Lazarus, who, by Jesus, having been raised from the dead, is the cause célèbre, leading many to believe in Jesus as Messiah.

Raising of Lazarus, Alessandro Magnasco (1715-1740), Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

This is paradox. Jesus, the peacemaker, come to reconcile us to God, in the view of the established authorities, the upholders, the do-gooders of all that is right, is the peacebreaker, disturbing the tranquility of devoted obedience to the accustomed, acceptable status quo.

Yesterday, on Palm Sunday, we remembered Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and, as that day was also The Sunday of the Passion (his suffering), we also recalled how that joyous parade wended its way inexorably to the cross of his death. He has said to us, “If you want to be my followers, then deny yourselves and take up your cross daily and follow me.”[2]

What is your, my accustomed, acceptable status quo, our chosen, comfortable way things are that although good enough is not godly enough that Jesus, the peacebreaker, disturbs in order to make peace between us and God?


Illustration: Raising of Lazarus, Alessandro Magnasco, 1715-1740, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam


[1] John 12.9-11, paraphrased

[2] Luke 9.23, paraphrased (my emphases)

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