An Apocalypse of Love – Kenneth Tanner
The gospel calls humanity to stop trusting violence.
If Jesus is the sovereign Lord of all things, if he is King, not just of heaven but of earth, then today’s gospel (John 18:33-37) tells us that those who are apprenticed to his kingdom have renounced violence as the means by which the world and humanity will be saved.
Jesus tells Pilate that his followers don’t fight because his kingdom is not of “this world.”
The end of the world that this King promises is not an apocalypse of violence (as if God’s violence will somehow prove greater than humanity’s). Stories of the end that portray Jesus as a more strategic and ruthless general than the generals of the world are blasphemy.
No, the end Christ promises is an apocalypse of love, a revelation of the harder love than the love the world knows, the love that lays down its life for the life of the world, of a servant God who dies that death may die.
But if there’s one thing this pastor has learned in preaching it’s this: humans (I pastor the American variety) don’t like to hear that they have to stop trusting violence and trust the cross.
Rome was converted by the sacrificial love of Christ followers not by coercion or force, not at the edge of a sword.
The world will be converted when those who bear Christ in the world renounce violence in imitation of their Lord and, perhaps in the face of a new worldwide Rome, collectively trust that their mass execution will join the death of Christ and bring about the resurrection of all things.
Perhaps not but that’s an ending that fits the story the gospel is telling. The story Christians trust says that resurrection is the end of all things and not death.