Some people are excited for Jesus to return because they think, at last, he will get violent with folks—some other folks.
Some people are deeply offended that Jesus would ever be depicted as violent, or as condoning any violence, at all. They say, “God is Love,” and therefore never violent at all… Some argue that God never asked anyone to sacrifice at all, not in the tabernacle, temple, or on the cross on Mt. Moriah.
Well, that is to do quite a bit of violence to Scripture… and maybe even the Word of God.
In Revelation 19, John sees “the Word of God” seated on a white horse with a two-edged sword coming from His mouth. He seems to be rather violent.
It’s a strange kind of violence, just like the strange kind of Judgment found in the Gospel of John. And yet, it is violence.
What does Holy violence violate?
An Angel in the sun cries out to the birds of the air to come gather for the sacrificial feast of God, to eat the flesh of kings, captains, mighty men, horses, riders, and all men—free and slave, small and great …not SOME men, “all men,” “all people,” “all flesh.” That’s violence… on all.
What’s wrong with human flesh?
It’s not sex, as such—God’s first commandment is sex (“Be fruitful and multiply”).
It’s not simply a desire for food or wealth—the New Jerusalem is a lavish banquet upon streets paved with gold.
What’s wrong with human flesh? . . . It’s alone.
Human flesh feels—only—its own pain and its own pleasure.
“It is not good that the Adam should be alone,” said Yahweh.
God made a helper fit for the Adam and it wasn’t Eve… or old Adam.
God alone is our Helper.
In the Garden of Eden, there was a tree—one tree or two trees that looked like one, for on the tree was the Good in flesh and, on the tree, was the Life.
In the Garden of Calvary, the Good in flesh, who is the Life, hung on a tree; we took knowledge of the Good and killed the Life, but God forgave the Life, and that is the Good—He is our Helper and at His tree we learn to love Love . . . our Helper
Jesus had human flesh, but now He has a different kind of flesh.
He once had a mortal body, but now He has an immortal body.
He is in the process of giving that body to you.
But you must lose your “psyche” to find it.
You see, Jesus does not think like you or feel like you, He weeps with those who weep and He laughs with those who laugh, not because He has to, but because they are His Body.
We construct a body of flesh, by taking life and excreting death.
We construct a human psyche, by taking knowledge of the Good and using it to justify ourselves in the power of the flesh.
The Word of God utterly violates the human psyche, what Scripture calls “the mind set on the flesh,” or simply “the flesh,” the illusion that we save ourselves. “God is Salvation,” (Yeshua, Jesus) means that you are not salvation, at all.
He violates the thing in me that makes me consume the Good like a beast.
He violates the thing in me that makes me use Life like a whore.
He violates the abomination that exalts itself before men.
He violates the imitation Christ—the anti-Christ.
He violates my violence.
He violates the prison in which “I” am trapped and alone.
He cuts away that which separates me from God and humanity, and He gives me God’s Will, which is Himself, which binds all things together: Love.
Love is not the opposite of sacrifice; sacrifice is the definition of Love.
“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son”—who is Himself, God’s psyche—“to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
When one person sacrifices, it looks like a naked man bleeding on a tree.
When two people sacrifice, it looks like a marriage . . . or a honeymoon.
When everyone sacrifices, it looks like a body circulating life through a river of blood; it looks like a party; it looks like the New Jerusalem coming down.
Grace violates this body of death, frees me from myself, delivers me into the Kingdom of God, and sets my feet to dancing.
When a body is no longer broken, it feels no pain and each member feels the pleasure of all.
“There is One Body” (Eph. 4:4).
*Discussion questions for this sermon are available here: Discussion Questions “The Violence of Grace