Reverend Dr. William H. Curtis

No More Violence

With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”
Matthew 26:51-52 (NIV)

The scene is intense. Jesus has just been betrayed by the kiss of Judas. Peter, always ready for action, pulls out his sword and clumsily cuts off the ear of Malchus.

Jesus calmly picks up Malchus’s ear from the ground and reattaches it to his head. It’s a miracle, to be sure, but don’t let the wonder of His works make you miss the power of His words.

Jesus says to Peter, while intending it for the soldiers and also intending it for us, “No more violence.”

Too many injuries result from it. Trauma builds strongholds on its back. Lives are forever scarred by it. Enemy camps become all the more entrenched because of it. Truth is suppressed and ignored because of it.

When violence is perpetrated, real messages are missed. Reconciliation is all but strained out. Elections become marred because of it. Innocence is violated. Community becomes threatened. Trust is broken.

Historically, families have had to painfully move family members away because of violence. Parents have buried far too many children. Jails have profited from violence perpetrated and judges behind the bench have stewarded violence of their own in the excessive sentences that they hand out. And let’s accept that the church is not immune from it either.

Jesus’s message doesn’t need parsing. We don’t need special interpretation. It doesn’t need to be better translated from the Greek, the Hebrew, the Aramaic, or the Latin. His message is clear and undeniable. Jesus says to each of us, “Stop it. Put your blade back in its sheath. No more violence.”