Today, it’s a good old-fashioned gun rack. Technically it’s a weapon rack by the Star Wars people, but gun rack sounds about right. Rebels driving around in their vehicles with their gun racks. Something like that.
“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.” Han Solo said this in Star Wars as Luke Skywalker tried to defend the Force and the Jedi way. Han wasn’t having any of it. He’d seen the Empire rule by force, so what was going to change that?
At the time of the Nativity, the Roman Empire ruled by force. No one dared cross their path, and if you did you were put down quickly. A number of Jews longed for Messiah to come because it was prophesied he would establish his Kingdom. All of them thought this would be by force, and the Roman Empire would be destroyed.
Jesus had something else in mind, something better. His Kingdom would be established by love and sacrifice, and not through weapons. In Matthew 11, we see John the Baptist disillusioned because his preconception of what Jesus would bring has not come to pass yet. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter draws a sword on the crowd that has come to arrest Jesus. So many wanted to rise up with Jesus and attempt an overthrow.
It probably seemed ridiculous to the disciples and those who were following Jesus around for whatever reason. “Love and pray for my enemies? Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and render to God what is God’s?” Indeed. Yet it was exactly this kind of approach to life that ended the Roman persecution of Christianity nearly 300 years later. This same approach also influenced movements all around the world, most notably here in America with Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s.
When bringing this up, there is usually someone who takes it to an extreme point and misinterprets what Jesus said and did. I’m not advocating pacifism, and I don’t think Jesus is either. I do believe Jesus was encouraging us to always win our enemies, not defeat our enemies. To win our enemies means love.
The promise of the Messiah, the coming King, and the expectancy of a new ruling Kingdom. Jesus, in the lineage of King David, established the throne, but not in a way people expected. This was illustrated perfectly at the Nativity. Jesus didn’t enter into humanity by might or power, but rather as the opposite. He would not rule his people by a gun, but by love.