Peace Be Unto You
The very first words out of Jesus’ mouth post-resurrection weren’t “I’m back to kick butt and take names” or “Someone point me to the gun shop” or “Peter, you’re dead to me!”
They were in fact,
“Peace be unto you.”
(Sorry to all of those out there who envision Jesus as Liam Neeson in a tunic.)
These words, seemingly insignificant, were loaded with relevant meaning and symbolism for those in the room who were present to hear them and for the rest of us who can only read about them a couple of millenniums later.
As you probably know, resurrecting from the dead wasn’t something that happened all the time. Shocker, I know.
But, contrary to what fundamental Christians would want us to believe, resurrection wasn’t something that Jesus had a monopoly on.
In fact, there were many stories and mythologies of demigods and revolutionaries and presumed messiahs reappearing onto the physical plane after dying some god awful death. You don’t have to go through too many pages of Google searches to find this out for yourself.
But what was unique about Jesus’ bodily, physical resurrection was the message that came along with it. A message of peace and nonviolence — two words many in the U.S. purposely overlook.
His victory over physical death was a subversive, culturally disruptive declaration against the man-made fear-based systems of violence, imperialism, religiosity, sacrifice, and class dominance that had been in circulation since the murder of Abel.
It was a punch to the gut of Roman occupation and oppression (politicians) and the Sadducees (the religious exclusivists of the time) who profited from a sacrificial system that God never desired in the first place. (Hosea 6:6, Jeremiah 7:22, Psalm 40:6, Psalm 51:16–17, Micah 6:8, Matthew 9:13, Matthew 12:7)
The resurrection was the crowning point of a message meant to stop the bloodshed of the oppressed and transform the oppressors. It was the inauguration of a new kingdom, a new system.
One based on peace, not fear and retribution.
A system meant to rehumanize a civilization that had distorted it’s original identity through centuries of retaliatory violence, retribution, racism, sexism, elitism, exclusivism, and twisted religious practice, all of which stemmed from a false, toxic belief of an angry, distant, and bloodthirsty God.
So if you ask me, I’d take Jesus over Liam Neesom any day.