It started out as a “Christian thing.” David Brian Stone would take his family to church. They would pray. They would read Scripture, particularly Revelation, and believe they knew how the world would end.
But then something happened. According to David’s ex-wife, he began to take it too far. He started talking about taking on the government. He joined the Hutaree, an extremist Christian militia group based in Michigan. He became the group’s leader. He went from hand guns to automatic weapons to improvised explosive devices.
On the second day of Holy Week, David, three of his family members, and five of his fellow militia members were indicted on an alleged plot to kill a police officer and then bomb the funeral procession. “Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves using the sword and stay alive using equipment,” the Hutaree web site says. “The Hutaree will one day see its enemy and meet him on the battlefield if so God wills it.”
What started out as a “Christian thing” had gone terribly awry.
We’ll never know what snapped in David, or why he was allegedly leading others to commit heinous acts in the name of Jesus.
What we do know is this: On the sixth day of Holy Week, they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him. Suddenly, one of those with Jesus put his hand on his sword, drew it, struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back in its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:50a-52a).
Jesus was beaten and mocked, ridiculed and whipped. He never retaliated. He died later that day, when violent hands nailed him to a cross. He forgave his killers and traitors. Three days later, he rose from the dead and triumphed over all of the violence and hatred and suffering, leaving an unsurpassed peace for those who love and follow him.
That, my friends, is a “Christian thing.”