Lately, the saying comes up around ISIS. The idea is that if you want to really defeat an enemy, you must encounter that enemy face to face to win.
There is also, though, I believe a deeper meaning. If we want a peace that lasts – which is the goal – then the tracks made by our enemy must be replaced by steps of our own. Victory requires not only conquering an enemy, but also undoing the harm that enemy caused and to do that we must retrace enemy steps. The people and places our enemy harmed are only recliamed step by step.
As an amateur Civil War historian I am reminded of an Abraham Lincoln story. On April 4,1865, President Lincoln visited Richmond, Virginia. The city, the capital of the Confederacy, surrendered the day before. So literally, the next day, the President of the United States walked the city of his enemy. He went to Jefferson Davis’ office. He sat at his desk. Exactly what he said that day is a bit of a debate, but the significance we all know. Lincoln was reclaiming his country by being boots on the ground. Enemy ground was now home – Lincoln’s steps made it so.
Jesus also walked this way. One day, Jesus visited the Temple in Jerusalem. Within the Temple, he saw money changers. These people converted other currencies into the Temple currency. The Temple currency had to be used to buy animals for sacrifices, and in time it became a racket. Genuine believers were being gouged so that the Chief Priest could make a shekel.
Jesus exploded. The Bible records his anger. John 2:15-16;
So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”
He reclaimed his house, personally.
Maybe this is why we can trust Jesus so – his victory is complete. Jesus is more than fighting for us, he is working to reclaim us. The steps he takes are his effort to defeat the enemy, win us back, and point us a new direction. He is doing this even now – one step at a time.
(thanks for reading, please share if you found Jesus in this & maybe even donate a shekel or two, thanks!)