Late last night I was watching the Phillies-NY Mets game and heard people chanting, "USA, USA." Soon the play-by-play man announced that Osama Bin Laden had been killed by US forces.
How do we understand a murdering zealot like OBL? Maybe by changing his name to Osama Bar Abbas. Truly this man was a son of Barabbas. The world knew his crimes, knew the death sentence upon him, and still chose him over the Prince of Peace who told his sword-waving follower Peter to put down his weapon, and said "those who live by the sword will die by the sword."
The death of this latter-day Bar Abbas was an act of justice. The state does not wield the sword for nothing; it punishes evil doers. What would the Jesus I have studied since Jan. 1 say about the events of last night? Would he celebrate? Say, "finally, the enemy is vanquished?" This is an open question, I really don't have the answer, and I hope to learn from the perspectives of my brothers and sisters.
But my initial thought is that Jesus wouldn't be running any victory laps. I think he might pray, "they Kingdom come, thy will be done" over BOTH the prideful Kingdom of the West, soaked in the greed and hedonism of godless liberty, and the equally prideful Principality of Sharia, subject to Pharisaical religious tyranny. He would pray that the Holy Spirit convict them of sin, righteousness and judgment.
And, apropos to John 20, he would pray that the power of the resurrection would overwhelm even the most stubborn disbelief. When Thomas sees Jesus, nail holes and all, Jesus calls him blessed to have seen and believed, but those who believe without seeing are even more blessed. Lord God, deliver the slaves from their chains by the resurrection freedom and power that comes through belief in your son. Your Kingdom come, your will be done. And as brother Francis prayed, "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace."