“No more of this!” Jesus’ Condemnation of Violence and the War

Inspiration-Lessons of Hope for South Sudan
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[Juba, South Sudan, TCT] When Jesus was teaching in Jerusalem, the political and religious leaders there were not happy with him. They were jealous of his popularity and they feared his message of repentance. Soon they made a plan to arrest him and accuse him falsely. In the nighttime they sent their bodyguards and militia, armed with swords and clubs (Mark 14:43).

[Juba, South Sudan, TCT] When Jesus was teaching in Jerusalem, the political and religious leaders there were not happy with him. They were jealous of his popularity and they feared his message of repentance. Soon they made a plan to arrest him and accuse him falsely. In the nighttime they sent their bodyguards and militia, armed with swords and clubs (Mark 14:43).

They found Jesus praying quietly in a garden with his close followers. The soldiers did not know which one was Jesus. So they brought with them Judas, one of the twelve disciples, whom they were paying to work as a spy and an accuser. “Teacher!” said Judas, greeting Jesus with a kiss. Then the soldiers knew which one was Jesus and they led him away to be executed.

This is similar to what is happening in South Sudan today. Leaders are seeking to protect their power or gain power by shedding innocent blood. Soldiers are arresting and targeting people in the nighttime. Though they call Jesus “teacher,” they honor his name falsely, just as Judas did. They have robbed hungry villagers, raped innocent schoolgirls, forced boys to commit atrocities, looted the hospitals, and desecrated the churches. These are not just ‘crimes against humanity’, they are acts of war against the Prince of Peace himself. For as Jesus said, “Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40).

Therefore, we can be sure that such brutal violence is not from God. On the contrary, it is from the devil who “was a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44). Jesus has commanded us to care for each other. He has never sanctioned such violence.

When Jesus was arrested, his disciple Simon Peter wanted to defend Jesus with a sword. He pulled out his weapon quickly and cut off the ear of one of the soldiers who had been sent to arrest Jesus (Mark 14:47, John 18:10). But Jesus said, “No more of this!” He cried out, “Put your sword back into its sheath” (Luke 22:51, John 18:11).

Then Jesus touched the ear of the man who had been cut, healing him. Finally, he allowed himself to be arrested, saying to the men who had come for him, “This is your hour, and the power of darkness” (Luke 22:53).

In this, South Sudan’s hour of darkness, we must trust in God, not in weapons. Our example is Jesus, a healer and a peacemaker — not a killer. Though the darkness may last for “an hour,” Jesus will shatter it and conquer death.

After his crucifixion and death, on the third day Jesus rose again. He is alive forever and ever. To killing, he says, “No more!” To rape, he says, “No more!” To looting, he says, “No more!” To death itself, he says, “No more!”

The contributor is a seminarian who has worked with Christians in South Sudan for several years.

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