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We Have an Enemy

This Sunday is Palm Sunday and the start of Holy Week, the week set aside each year to reflect on the passion of Jesus.

The "passion" of Jesus refers to the events leading up to Jesus' death and resurrection: the Last Supper, his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, his arrest and trial, and the crucifixion itself.

The Presbyterian preacher William G. Carter has written,

"There has always been something about Jesus that people have resisted from the very beginning. He has done nothing wrong. He has not led people down the wrong path. He has not rejected the Scriptures. He has not trained terrorists to resist the empire. He has not spoken against God. Yet there is something about him that people resist and wish to eliminate. ... From the very beginning of his ministry, Jesus faced opposition to his words and deeds, not because he did something wrong, but because he came in the power of God's Spirit."

A fascinating concept, and one that polite Episcopalians don't talk about very much: Jesus was opposed not because he did anything wrong, but because he was good; because he was God.

And if Scripture teaches us nothing else, unfortunately we live in a world where God, and God's Spirit, is opposed.

You and I live in a world at war, in the midst of a battle being played out here on earth that reflects a cosmic battle between principalities and powers...good and evil...God and Satan.

Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10)

So why are we surprised when the enemy does, in fact, steal, kill, and destroy?

Like I said, this theology isn't heard much in the liberal protestant stream of Christianity in which the Episcopal Church so often finds itself. But it's solidly fact, I'd say it'd take a great deal of effort to read the Bible front to back and not draw the conclusion that we live in a world where God, and God's Spirit, is opposed.

Sure explains a heck of a lot.

At the least, I hope it helps us enter the events of Palm Sunday and Holy Week in a less naïve frame of mind, so we can appreciate, all the more, the event of God's victory that first Easter.


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