While there is much in our Master's teachings about the peace that comes to those who follow him, Christ Jesus is also recorded as saying, ''I came not to send peace, but a sword.'' n1 At first glance these words may seem little comfort in a world under threat of nuclear war. Yet seen in the context of Christ Jesus' whole mission, they hold a promise of safety that can actually help us find answers to the nuclear threat.
n1 Matthew 10:34.
What was the nature of his mission? He described it to Pilate: ''To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.'' Mankind still repeats Pilate's response, ''What is truth?'' n2 Is it the result of scientific research that can produce technology so powerful it will destroy those who've created it? Is it the result of political and social forces so complex that they put civilization in jeopardy? Is it a religious teaching so fragile that the crucifixion of its Teacher could stop the message of Immanuel - God with us?
n2 John 18:37, 38.
We know the answer to the last question. Jesus' resurrection proved that temporal powers, so impressive to Pilate, could not destroy either God's message or His messenger. Jesus' trial, crucifixion, and resurrection showed both the true nature of the conflict that faces humanity and the true defense in this conflict.
This was not, and is not, fundamentally a conflict between people, nations, or sects. The conflict to which Jesus brought the sword was the conflict between ignorance of God - even the denial of God - and Truth. And Christ Jesus' triumph was not merely a personal event in the life of a distant culture or religious group; it was a divine event. It established for all time that God, Truth itself , destroys whatever would oppose Truth and maintains the universe as He has created it.
Jesus' triumph might be seen as the point of the sword of Truth tearing apart the flimsy fabric of material power - the outgrowth of ignorance and disbelief. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ''The 'man of sorrows' best understood the nothingness of material life and intelligence and the mighty actuality of all-inclusive God, good.'' n3
n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 52.
As the Way - shower, Jesus was illustrating for us the basis of our defense in this conflict with ignorance and showing how we can include all humanity in this defense. His resurrection showed the supremacy of Love, God, and the security that each of us can find in divine Love. The basis of this security is an understanding of our spiritual nature, our cherished, unassailable identity as the sons and daughters of God. Jesus' healing work as well as his victory over death illustrated the fact that God holds His offspring forever in what the Psalmist called ''the secret place of the most High.'' n4
n4 Psalms 91:1.
In the Christian Science textbook, beside the marginal heading ''The armor of divinity,'' we find these words of Mrs. Eddy's: ''At all times and under all circumstances, overcome evil with good. Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil. Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you. The cement of a higher humanity will unite all interests in the one divinity.'' n5 The Love that is our defense is not weak, not ethereal or exclusive - saving one and destroying another. For it saves all from the devastating fear that there is no God or that God, who is infinite good , would empower any force or law unlike good.
n5 Science and Health, p. 571.
As we find our security in our spiritual sonship, we gain the moral courage and spiritual vision needed to help make important decisions about the welfare of mankind. Whether fear, hatred, ignorance of God, or denial of Truth emerges in the office, home, classroom, or across a territorial border, through the power of Truth we can expose for what it is the pretense of a power opposed to God. And in doing so we find, and help our fellow citizens find, that there is but one answer to the question, ''What is Truth?'' The answer is, God. That answer is mighty enough to break the deadlock of materialism and its endless parade of threats. That answer is our superior defense. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The Lord is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge. Psalms 94:22