Just recently at the Organic Church we watched the film The Vision, which if you have not seen it, gives an account from just before the crucifixion of Christ, and the next few days, seen in the eyes of a tribune - a type of officer - in the Roman army; and how this affected him throughout, until at the end he became a believer.
What struck me more than anything about this film was the amount of violence depicted in it, especially in a war scene in the first ten minutes. Whilst this was a bit mind-boggling, thinking about it I realised that it was very true to the Bible. The Bible is full of violence, in various parts we have: first-born sons in Egypt put to death; putting to death the remnant of a beaten army; David chopping off the head of Goliath - the act of crucifixion itself, etc.
This violence was, and unfortunately at times still is, ever present for the Jewish people, as has happened right through the Bible, through the settling of the Promised Land, and the subsequent days up until present times.
Outside of the Promised Land, we have seen in the history of the world in the last hundred years enough instances of mindless violence to see that things have not really changed; and given a chance man will revert back to type, as Eve and Adam did, and eat the fruit.
We see it on our streets today with young people using senseless violence to settle disputes with no mind to the consequences.
What we did see with the coming of Christ was that man could draw a line between outright hostility and peace of some sort, however fragile, ‘forgive them, for they know not what they do’.
What we now need is a further revelation, similar to that received by the tribune in the film, in that Christ is alive and at the centre of our lives as we live them today, and that the message has not changed. To see the power of love over violence, death and destruction, and accept that Jesus is our Saviour and that by His blood we are set free. Jesus gave us the lead, He only did it once but that was more than sufficient, He shed his blood on the cross for us. Let us follow the example He gave us and gather in the lost, make friends of our enemies and rather than shed their blood, lead them to salvation.