Here on Earth, Injustice, Oppression, and Violence Being Put Right Part 1

Here on Earth, Injustice, Oppression, and Violence Being Put Right Part 1 August 22, 2023


Our reading this week is from the gospel of Matthew:

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

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They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah. (Matthew 16:13-20)

When Christians today call Jesus “Messiah,” we must take great care not to drift into supersessionism or antisemitism. Let’s talk about it. 

At the time of Jesus, the great Jewish hope was not that humans would one day become disembodied souls in a post mortem blissful realm or some far distant cloud. It was that Jewish liberation from foreign oppression would come, and that this liberation would also mark the end of all injustice, violence, and oppression not only for the Jewish people but for the entire world. This was a time that might begin with local liberation, yet it would swell to the setting right of all injustice, the putting right of all that is wrong with the world, and the end of all oppression and all violence. Establishing justice would usher in an era of peace and safety where no one need be afraid anymore. 

“Of the greatness of his government and peace

there will be no end.

He will reign on David’s throne 

and over his kingdom,

establishing and upholding it 

with justice and righteousness

from that time on and forever.

The zeal of the LORD Almighty 

will accomplish this.” (Isaiah 9:7)

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold,

my chosen one in whom I delight;

I will put my Spirit on him,

and he will bring justice to the nations. (Isaiah 42:1)

“Listen to me, my people;

hear me, my nation:

Instruction will go out from me;

my justice will become a light to the nations. (Isaiah 51:4)

“Everyone will sit under their own vine 

and under their own fig tree,

and no one will make them afraid,

for the LORD Almighty has spoken.” (Micah 4:4)

Again, this was not a hope of one day entering a postmortem heaven, but of establishing a just, compassionate, safe world here on earth, one where each person could experience home. We’ll explore where this leaves us today, next.

(Read Part 2)

About Herb Montgomery
Herb Montgomery, director of Renewed Heart Ministries, is an author and adult religious re-educator helping Christians explore the intersection of their faith with love, compassion, action, and societal justice. You can read more about the author here.

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