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the best liberation proclamation

These twelve Jesus [c. AD 32] sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ … … … And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. As you enter the house, greet it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of justice for the land of So*** and Gom***** than for that town.” Matthew 10: 5-15
 

Three days before the second birthday of a little boy in Trinity (born and living at Hautes Croix) Jersey’s Liberation from enemy occupation was proclaimed from the balcony of the Pomme D’Or Hotel in St Helier on 9 May 1945.

Within days all enemy forces marched out of the Island. A new realm – a new beginning had arrived at last. Some things were restored, some things were gone forever. Over the next seven decades it was clear that suffering and struggle were not yet over, the enemy within and without remained……..

Maybe Jersey’s Liberation was a kind of repeat of that which was proclaimed in AD 32 in that part of Israel known as Galilee. Please see bold above.

The situation was this. Galilee was occupied by the Romans. There was a local “king” - Herod Antipas - who had been appointed ethnarch by Emperor Augustus. John the Baptist – the cousin and forerunner of Jesus - arrived on the scene, calling on all people to repent and to turn back to the God of Israel. Herod Antipas had him imprisoned and killed. Occupying forces are powerful and autonomous.
 
 
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‘Repentance is ultimate honesty.’ (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German theologian, 1906-1945)

Then Jesus comes on the scene, teaching, healing, dealing with evil, cleansing, and even reversing death. He appoints twelve men as his apostles (sent-out-ones) and gives them the instructions in bold above. There is only one statement. ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ But there are many deeds – to do and to avoid: ‘Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the labourer deserves his food.

How would they live if they had no money, no accommodation and no food? The answer was to seek out those who were “worthy”. Who were these “worthy” people? In what way were they “worthy”?

If Jesus had sent out his twelve apostles into Jersey on 9 May 1945 to whom would they have gone for accommodation and support? Who in Jersey in 1945 would have been counted “worthy” in Jesus’ eyes? Click “Reply” to this e-mail and tell me what you think.

But Jesus knew that some houses would turn out not to be “worthy” and that other folk would “not receive you or listen to your words”. His instruction was to “shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town”. It’s almost unbelievable that folk would not receive these apostles who were doing such super things – healing, raising the dead, cleansing, dealing with evil within. They wouldn’t listen to the proclamation, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’

But Jesus knew that that very rejection was going to take place......... So he let his twelve men know that there would be consequences in ‘the kingdom of heaven’ itself.
 
 
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‘The only kingdom that will prevail in this world is the kingdom that is not of this world.’ (Anon.)

Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of justice for the land of So*** and Gom***** than for that town.” This “day of justice” is something which we all long for, isn’t it? There were injustices during the Occupation of Jersey. What will happen on the “day of justice” which Jesus spoke about? The answer seems to be that some places will find that day to be “more bearable” than others.

Those places - So*** and Gom***** - which were known for their awful evils would find the day of justice to be “more bearable” than those who would not receive the proclamation, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand’.

How could that be? Things were terrible in S**** and G*******. Clearly this AD32 liberation proclamation was seriously important – for worthy and unworthy alike – for whoever longs for the kingdom of heaven.
 
 
Richard Syvret

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