Jesus in the Old Testament - Day 4
God, the Peacemaker
As Jesus was being captured, one of his disciples drew his sword and cut off a servant’s ear, in order to defend Jesus. Jesus orders his disciple to put the sword away. Then, Jesus touched the man’s ear and healed him. Jesus teaches his followers to be peacemakers and to turn the other cheek. The golden rule is to do unto others as you would have them do unto you, to overcome evil with good.
In Genesis 9:13, God is portrayed as the Peacemaker: “I am putting my bow in the clouds. It will be the sign of my covenant with the world.” Here, the word for rainbow is the same word used for bow and arrow – in other words, a weapon used in war. A literal translation would be: I lay down my bow (weapon). God declares peace. He does not want to fight with man. God is not angry with us. There is peace between us and God. Through Jesus Christ, he reconciled all things to himself. Natural disasters and other forms of suffering are not punishment from God.
Violence and aggression are not good solutions to our problems. We often read, in the Old Testament, of wars fought in the name of the Lord, God’s punishment of other nations and even of curses. How are we supposed to understand these? Many of these passages in the Old Testament were intended to give authority to Israel’s claim to certain territory. It had a political motive.
The invasion of the land can also be understood as a process where the people of God expanded their territories to worship him. It had a religious motive. In light of what Jesus Christ taught us about the kingdom of God, we cannot use any of these reasons from the Old Testament as an excuse to act violently. God has given us the ministry of reconciliation.