A Beautiful Dream
We reflected on the beautiful dream of Isaiah last week.
They shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more. (Isaiah 2:4)
It is a beautiful dream. Prophets are prophets not because they have the ability to foresee what will happen in the future, not because they are able to speak a strong moral message, but because they are able to dream when nobody can dare to dream. They are able to see the vision nobody can imagine. They have prophetic dreams and prophetic visions.
Today, we hear another beautiful dream of Isaiah.
The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. (Isaiah 11:6-8)
Another beautiful dream and vision of living in peace and harmony. His world was filled with hostility, greed, and selfishness, and yet he was able to dream the world of peace and harmony.
He also said that this dream would be fulfilled by this mysterious person. We don’t know exactly whom he was referring to.
A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse (father of David),
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:1-3)
This person will bring the world of peace.
How precious this message is. How relevant this message is for us after almost 3,000 years later.
It is a dream of living together without hurting each other. We dream of a life where we can live together joyfully without hurting each other.
The wolf will not hurt the lamb. The leopard will not hurt the kid. The lion will not hurt the calf. The bear will not hurt the cow.
They will all get along together. They will enjoy each other. The child shall play over the hole of the snake and will not get hurt. They feel safe. I dream of this world.
The Dividing Wall
Living in peace and harmony is such a blessing. You don’t see many people do that. It is rare to see people living like that. I see so much hurt, and so much pain. We hurt each other, not intentionally always. But through insensitivity, through indifference, through carelessness, we hurt each other.
Instead of getting along with each other, I see dividedness. Parents and children are divided. Family is divided. Friends are divided. Nations are divided.
I think the culprit is the HOSTILITY. There is hostility within us. When we have this hostility, peace is not possible. When we have the hostility, we will hurt each other. As a result, we become divided.
Jesus came to put an end to this hostility. The hostility brought so much pain to this world. They destroy themselves and each other. Jesus came to break down the wall that divides us so that we can experience and enjoy the peace.
For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. (Ephesians 2:14)
The dividing wall, St. Paul said, is the HOSTILITY. We put a wall against each other and against God. We don’t trust each other. We are ready to pick a fight. We become enemies. Why? Why so angry? Why so much hatred? Why fight with each other? Jesus came to help us to be awake and to see what we are doing.
St. Paul said,
For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son,…(Romans 5:10)
He died as a result of our hostility and animosity. But he was not just a victim of our hostility. As he died on the cross, our hostility also died with him. Jesus’ death had the power to destroy our hostility. That is the power of love. Jesus embraced our hostility. Jesus suffered our hostility not as a powerless victim but as a loving friend.
John described his love in this way.
No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)
Jesus also said.
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you… (Matthew 5:43, 44)
For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? (Matthew 5:46, 47)
He redefined what love is. Love is not feeling good. Love melts down the hostility. The power of love is stronger than the power of hostility.
Jimi Hendrix said a very interesting statement.
When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.
He said it right. Jesus lost all his power on the cross. But the power of his love was at its peak on the cross. The only way to take out our hostility is TO LOVE AND TO BE LOVED. Do not hold the hostility within you. Do not hold grudge against each other. It will torment you and eat you up.
Cleanse the Poison
Hostility comes from fear, the fear of losing yourself. It is a way of defending yourself. But when the hostility takes hold of you, instead of defending you, it will slowly eat you up. You will react to every situation with anger. You will find no peace. You will find no peace in yourself. You will find no peace in the relationship.
My friends, You are not on your own. You don’t have to defend yourself all by yourself. You have God who loves you and will defend you. You have family, you have friends who love you.
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offences. (Proverbs 10:12)
Don’t let the hostility poison your soul. Don’t be an angry person. It will fill you with the negative energy. It is very tiring to live with this negative energy. Don’t let hostility control you.
Accept the love of Jesus Christ who shed blood for you on the cross. That blood will cleanse the poison of hostility. When we truly accept the love of Jesus Christ who died on the cross, then our hostility will be melted away. The only thing that melts down the hostility within us is LOVE.