by James Paulin
We have, both collectively and individually, gone astray from the will of God. So many times we have inflicted pain and suffering upon others while trying to assert our domination in various ways from world wars to petty acts of unkindness. It is not hard to comprehend why God destroyed almost all of the living humans in the flood of Noah’s biblical time. A fresh start seemed like a good idea in the logic of the ancient world but even though only those deemed as the faithful few were the pure core to rebuild from, there was no guarantee the same thing would not occur again. Why doesn’t God just admit that creation was a bad idea and destroy everything? We would certainly understand if God lost interest after so many failures.
Fire and brimstone rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah in an outpouring of God’s wrath and a lake of fire awaits those who are condemned at the end of time. There is a price to pay when God’s vengeance is completed. Old time preachers would emphasize the punishment to come in order to “scare the hell” out of believers and pagans alike. In contradiction to this approach and even though He had power and full reason to do so, Jesus never condemned anyone. He forgave. He healed. He accepted. He pleaded even for His executioners to the Father. He knew He had legions of angels at his beckoning but He chose to love rather than destroy.
The savior imagined in the Jewish tradition was to be a temporal power, invincible with Gods authority. They had great leaders like Abraham, Moses, Solomon and David in the past and expected an even greater one. Jesus fulfilled this promise in an intuitive fashion. His power is astounding not because it eliminates those who offend but emanates from the life source of love that gives creation full meaning.