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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Greatest story never sold

If any leader faced an imminent threat that he knew all about, it was Jesus. At his last supper, he not only forecast his own demise, he foretold the course of events that would very soon be upon him.

And when the attack was about to come, Jesus didn't preempt it. Luke 22:
47 While Jesus was still speaking, a crowd came up. It was led by Judas, one of the twelve apostles. He went over to Jesus and greeted him with a kiss.

48 Jesus asked Judas, "Are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"

49 When Jesus' disciples saw what was about to happen, they asked, "Lord, should we attack them with a sword?"

50 One of the disciples even struck at the high priest's servant with his sword and cut off the servant's right ear.

51 "Enough of that!" Jesus said. Then he touched the servant's ear and healed it.
Earlier this week, Patrick pondered an interesting counterfactual concerning the immediate post 9/11 world. What if President Bush had reminded everyone that Jesus was the most influential figure in his life -- and that Jesus would have wanted the U.S. to turn the other cheek?

However absurd that may have seemed in autumn 2001, I'm wondering about 2006. The discussion about Iran is starting to sound a lot like the discussion about Iraq in 2002.

Clearly, even the threat of imminent death didn't turn Jesus into an Old Testament (Exodus 21) "eye for eye, tooth for tooth" kind of leader. Rather, upon being nailed to the cross, he cried out: "Father, forgive these people! They don't know what they're doing."

It's Maundy Thursday. Maybe some leaders in Washington will have an epiphany this weekend and realize that war and violence are not exactly recommended Christian practices.

Or don't they buy their own rhetoric?

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