Watchwords of peace

Christ Jesus instructed his followers to watch. Unlike military watching, Christian watching takes place in thought. It is a spiritual activity. Still, much as a sentry would demand that a prearranged watchword be correctly given to identify those eligible to pass his post, one challenges the thoughts coming to one's consciousness for admittance according to the standard of Jesus' teachings.

Jesus patently stood guard over his thoughts. His works so indicate. Where others admitted suffering and sin as unavoidable, he debarred these injustices and admitted only the capabilities of man created in God's likeness. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" Matt. 5:48. might well have been his watchword as he went about healing the sick and redeeming sinners. His watchword as he waged peace must have been "Love your enemies." Matt. 5:44. Even on the cross, he said of those who had so unjustly put him there, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." Luke 23:34.

Those who crucified Jesus were far from expressing such love. They were therefore not at peace, even when they thought they had slain that most loving of all men, whom they conceived of as an enemy. So haunted were they by fear of the possibility of further Christian influence that the Jewish leaders went to Pilate to request that guards be stationed at Jesus' tomb for three days after his burial. They wanted to make sure that the disciples did not remove his body and circulate a rumor of the impossible (to them!), that he had risen as he had prophesied he would. According to Matthew, guards were stationed outside the tomb to stand watch. Then, when the watchmen came to report to the chief priests that despite their watch Jesus had indeed risen, they were paid to say that the disciples had removed the body.

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No river too wide for love to cross
January 20, 1986

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