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From the March 2008 issue of The Christian Science Journal

DISTURBED BY TV IMAGES OF BOMBED BUILDINGS, fear-stricken faces of civilians, and brave soldiers rescuing children from smoked-filled streets, I prayed. The images contrasted sharply against the peaceful sway of the hammock outside my kitchen window. I asked myself: At what point around the earth does the clear blue sky end and the exhaust of war begin? What can I do for peace? What possible difference can I make? What would Jesus do? Actually, What did Jesus do?

I did some research on Jesus and surprisingly discovered that his ministry occurred in the middle of warlike conditions. Palestine was under direct control of the Roman Empire, which continually battled for additional territories. Other nations fought back to gain possession of what they had previously lost. There was a constant tug of war over land. Many Jews believed that what we now call Israel should be ruled only by a Jewish king, a descendant of King David. It's no wonder that the Jewish people were yearning for the Messiah to come, build an army, and oust the Romans.

The long-awaited Messiah did show up on this fractious world scene, but Jesus didn't come as a warrior-king. In fact, he did not address the war directly at all. Instead, he taught his followers what it means to be at peace: to love their neighbors, love their enemies—one by one, step by step, and thought by thought. When he and his disciples were caught in a deadly storm at sea, the words "Peace, be still" that Jesus spoke were addressed not so much to the high winds as to the fearful storm within the minds of the disciples. Calming their thoughts, he changed their immediate world from turbulence to peace (see Mark 4:36—41). Instead of a warrior going to battle, destroying lives to forward his kingdom, Jesus healed people and even raised the dead. During his life, he lived up to the prophetic title, the Prince of Peace.

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