Monday, April 27, 2015

Unsnatchable! - Greg Albrecht

Hostage-taking and kidnapping have become international concerns over the past few decades. In some cases, people are taken—they are snatched—for monetary reasons. They are held for ransom. Terrorists often kidnap their political and religious enemies and offer to release them if their political or religious demands are met.

Hostage-taking and kidnapping are not only done for financial, political or religious reasons. People are kidnapped so that they can be used as slaves and property. Sometimes they are brainwashed so that they will come to embrace the beliefs of their captors. Sometimes, as we have seen recently, hostages are beheaded.

You may be familiar with the series of three Taken films in which Liam Neeson has played the lead role. The basic plot, particularly in the first two movies, is that Neeson is a former CIA operative who tracks down and rescues members of his family who are “taken.” In order to rescue his loved ones, Liam Neeson has to be more brutal and animalistic than the barbarians who have taken them. For example, in the first Taken (released in 2008), Liam Neeson’s character is named Bryan. Bryan receives a phone call from the human traffickers who have taken his daughter, demanding money for her release.

He replies: “I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have any money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills that I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you. I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.”

It has been said that “an eye for an eye leaves both parties blind.” Violence is not the way Jesus rescues us. In a counter-intuitive, upside-down way, Jesus rescues us by accepting and receiving all human hatred and violence on his cross.

Jesus rescues us not by living by the sword, but by letting the anger and hostility of the sword burn itself out in him. His cross is the singular symbol of Jesus’ willingness to accept and receive all human hatred and violence, so that it’s all consumed in him.

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