A Way of Non-Violence

The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus John 18

18After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, ‘For whom are you looking?’ 5They answered, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus replied, ‘I am he.’ Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6When Jesus said to them, ‘I am he’, they stepped back and fell to the ground. 7Again he asked them, ‘For whom are you looking?’ And they said, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ 8Jesus answered, ‘I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.’9This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken, ‘I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.’ 10Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. 11Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?’

This scene would seem to be the opposite of a spiritual practice; there are soldiers and mobs, torches and weapons, angry words and threats. And yet, Jesus stands calmly in the midst of them, restraining the violence and teaching his disciples, even in the midst of the tumult. It is for this that we practice our spirituality; that when a situation turns nasty, and we are in the middle of angry violence that we are able to speak a word of peace.

May we, during this Holy Week, in this world full of violence, be a presence of peace and healing for others.

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